Authorities raid Union County pot operation
MARYSVILLE, Ohio — Jaime Moore, half-owner of Wayward Seed Farm, collapsed at the Dublin Farmers Market this afternoon when she learned that one of her business addresses had been raided last night and that authorities say they found more than a half-million dollars worth of marijuana plants.
No one has been charged or arrested following the bust yesterday evening by the Union County Multi-Agency Drug Task Force at the farm at 14950 Fladt Rd. in Darby Township. Detectives say that it is unclear who the drugs belong to.
But Moore, who was sobbing and physically sick as she spoke to The Dispatch almost immediately after being told about the raid, said that address hasn’t been a formal part of her business for more than a year. Her business partner, Adam Welly, lives there personally with his girlfriend, a former employee of Wayward Farms.
Moore said she and Welly had been romantically involved for 16 years, but that she left him left in early 2012.
She said she hasn’t stepped foot on the Union County farm since last summer.
The produce for Wayward Seed Farm, which is a well-respected leader in the central Ohio farm-to-table organic food market, is all grown at the business’s second location on Rt. 29 in Madison County.
Welly could not be reached for comment today, and no one was at the Fladt Road location. Moore said they still share a business office in Worthington, where Wayward runs the local farmers’ market. She said Welly called in sick today.
Paperwork and phone records were seized during the raid last night, and authorities are still trying to sort out what legitimate business ventures may be connected to it, said Capt. Jeff Frisch, of the Union County sheriff’s office.
In addition to the 564 marijuana plants found outside and some cut and processed pot found in the house, deputies seized two shotguns. One person was at the farm when it was raided but since no one has been charged, Frisch would not identify the person.
He did say, though, that it was a sophisticated operation. The marijuana plants were growing under cover with an irrigation system outdoors. In all, at maturity, the plants would be worth about $560,000 on the street, Sheriff Jamie Patton said.
Patton said it appears the plants were grown someplace else and transplanted at the Fladt Road farm.
Authorities went to the property to follow-up on a tip, Frisch said.
Moore has been called “central Ohio’s agricultural queen,” and the farm supplies produce to several central Ohio restaurants, many of them high-end.
Moore runs the farmers’ markets in Bexley, Dublin and Worthington and the business runs a produce-subscription plan for customers who take regular deliveries.
“I never wanted anyone to lose confidence in our business because we weren’t together,” she said. “I was the business side and Adam took care of the farming. After I moved out, I was determined that everything would function as normal, that the business wouldn’t suffer.”
She said she will immediately ask Welly to sever his half of the business.
“I have an obligation to this community, to all of the people who have supported us, to my employees and to my customers to make this right,” she said. “This is not what Wayward is about. This is not what I am about. And this is not who any of my employees are.”
Michael Jones, executive director and co-founder of Local Matters, a non-profit group dedicated to making local food available to everyone, and owner of the Greener Grocer in the North Market, said Wayward Seed is widely respected.
He, too, was surprised by the news of the raid.
“It doesn't fit the two folks I know,” Jones said. “I still greatly respect them, and I want to wait and see what comes out of this.”
Dispatch food editor Robin Davis contributed to this story.
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