Man who grew underground weed pleads guilty in court

Published 2:11 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Decatur County man pled guilty in federal court Monday for a 12-count indictment surrounding the uncovering of his underground marijuana growth operation. 

Daniel Andrew Barnard Jr. appeared in federal court in Albany Monday and was arrested in June 2011 when investigators were suspicious the convenience store owner was selling grown and manufactured marijuana within the store.

Barnard was arrested in Miller County and three of his properties, including a 100-plus acre farm in Decatur County were searched. Investigators found an elaborate, underground marijuana growing operation within two tractor trailers buried underground.

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The farm was located on Georgia Highway 27 North and was investigated in an ongoing operation between the Bainbridge City Public Safety Office, Decatur County Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Agency and Pataula Drug Task Force.

The growing rooms included high-tech irrigation equipment according to investigators.

Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin said Barnard had no choice but to plead guilty Monday.

“He had no choice but to plead guilty when there were two semi trailers buried underground on his farm,” Griffin said. “It would have been foolish for him to go to trial.”

Griffin said it is his belief as a law enforcement officer that drugs and drug sales are destroying society.

Barnard and girlfriend Tisha Fowler were both handed multiple charges.

Monday the court said Barnard would be sentenced in another hearing, but said they wanted to seize more than 100 acres of property, $60,000 cash and 20 guns of Barnard’s.