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Husband and wife county employees facing drug charges

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- Local 12 News has learned the woman who supervises Clermont County's records unit is expected, along with her husband, to plead guilty to felony drug charges in Brown County.

While neither Barbara Brown nor her husband Richard have been officially charged, they've reach a plea agreement to a slightly reduced charge.  On a pretty regular basis late in the growing season, law enforcement takes to the skies across the tri-state looking for obvious places where people are growing marijuana.  The plants stand out clearly to the trained eye.  Last August, that's exactly what happened in Brown County.  Agents spotted what appeared to be a rather large crop of pot plants at the Brown's farm and moved in on it. 

Investigators from the Brown County Sheriff's Office and the Attorney Generals Bureau of Criminal Investigation were flying over a Brown County farm when they spotted what appeared to be marijuana.  When ground units moved in with a search warrant they ended up seizing 52 marijuana plants, some paraphernalia, a little bit of marijuana that was in a freezer and some other things pertaining to the growing of marijuana.

The "other things" included 200 dollars in a zip lock bag stashed in the freezer.  The home belongs to Richard and Barbara Brown.  No one was willing to answer the door when we knocked on it Tuesday afternoon. 

According to the incident report, the Browns are facing charges of illegal manufacture of drugs or cultivation.  Society is listed as their victim.  Some of it was down along the edge of a cornfield, some of it was in the garden, some of it was behind the barn.  You could go out and get your tomatoes and pull a plant.

The head of Clermont County's records department in Batavia, Barbara Brown wasn't in the office Tuesday.  That's because, according to witnesses, she was recently escorted out of the office which her attorney says is standard policy in situations like this.

Richard Brown is a maintenance man for the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  Both are still employed by the county according to their employers.  Investigators say a mature marijuana plant is worth about one thousand dollars so the Brown's 52 plants are worth roughly about 50,000 dollars.

The Browns have agreed to sign a bill of information either Wednesday or Thursday in Brown County.  That plea deal will change their charges from a more serious 3rd degree felony to a slightly less serious 4th degree felony.  The Brown's attorney told me that they're both really nice people who made a terrible mistake.

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