Traffic stop leads to grow-op bust

WINNSBORO – A routine traffic violation earlier this month led to the discovery of a marijuana growing operation and the arrest of a Winnsboro man.

Michael Eugene Davison, 34, of 73 Railroad Ave., was arrested April 5 by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and charged with failure to stop for a blue light, no S.C. driver’s license and manufacturing marijuana. The Sheriff’s Office said  deputies on patrol near the intersection of Highway 34 and 321 Bypass witnessed a 1996 Buick, traveling north on the Bypass, disregard a yield sign while bearing right onto Columbia Road. When deputies attempted to pull the Buick over, the driver accelerated, leading officers on a chase that eventually came to a halt on Fagan Road.

The driver, Davison, was taken into custody for failure to stop and for not having a driver’s license. A search of the Buick’s truck revealed a single marijuana plant growing in a flower pot. Deputies and Narcotics Investigators later acquired a search warrant for Davison’s Railroad Ave. home, which turned up 65 marijuana plants flourishing in what investigators called an “elaborate growing operation.”

Investigators said that the plants seized from the home were in a relatively early stage of development, and therefore their value was not known. At full maturity, however, the plants would be worth approximately $2,000 each, or $130,000 total.

The Sheriff’s Office said Davison has a lengthy criminal history and was only just recently released from prison on a 2005 conviction on strong-armed robbery and grand larceny in Berkeley County.