Police say a marine from Camp Lejeune was making three rad trips a month to Jackson to buy thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, and taking it back to the base to sell it to other marines.
After a year and a half of these trips, that marine is now in custody in North Carolina, which led to Michigan Stat Police finding the man in charge of the operation here; one of the biggest catches they've ever made.
He isn't the typical grower and dealer dealt with by the Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team. "I haven't seen them quite as elaborate as this," said Lt. Dave Cook of the Michigan State Police.
Able to stay under the radar for years, moving hundreds of plants worth thousands of dollars, 35-year-old Dustin Kauffman ran his grow houses alone.
"It was an elaborate grow operation: grow lights, de-humidifiers, air conditioning units, fans...it was set up in what we call a hydroponics grow where the plants grow in water rather than dirt," continued Cook.
Kauffman has five houses: three in Jackson County, one in Kalamazoo County, and one in Saint Joseph County. Police searched all of them Friday and found 311 plants; worth about $1 million.
Most of the growing took place at his Henrietta township house of Root Station road, where police found 170 plants.
Only one house was occupied, being used by his wife and kids. When Kauffman was arrested, he wasn't staying in any of them, but in another house in Whitmore Lake: "Officers set up surveillance on it and when he showed up they took him into custody."
Now he's facing two charges; one for growing and distributing marijuana, and the other, a fire arms felony for the weapons he was hiding in the walls: "a pistol grip shot gun and a hand gun."
As for Camp Lejeune, the dealer has sparked a big investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service; even sending some of their team to Jackson to help with the bust: "after talking to them I guess they do have a significant problem down there with marijuana being sold on the base to marines," continued Cook.
Hoping to contain the problem, now that possibly the camp's biggest source is cut off.
This is the second time Kauffman has been arrested for large scale marijuana dealing, only last time, it was for bringing hundreds of plants into the state.
Kauffman is still waiting to hear if he will face more charges on the federal level.