Spotsylvania Parents Busted in Undercover Pot Op

Drug ring was all in the family, authorities say

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    An alleged family-run pot-growing business in Spotsylvania County is now in the weeds.

    Four people -- three of them parents with small children -- were arrested Thursday after a lengthy investigation and undercover operation by the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit.

    Investigators served a search warrant at 9515 Laurel Oak Drive and arrested three people: 45-year-old Nicholas Phatisis; his wife Melissa Phatisis, 33; and his sister-in-law Chelsey Holley, 31.
     
    All three were charged with manufacturing marijuana and conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. Authorities seized three vehicles and approximately $15,000 in cash at the residence.
     
    Nicholas and Melissa Phatisis’s three young children were at their house during the raid. The children are now in the custody of their grandparents.
     
    A second search warrant was executed at 9524 Whiteheart Drive. An elaborate marijuana growing system with tubs, grow lights and a ventilation system was found in the basement of the house, investigators said.
     
    Deanna Jones, 31, was arrested. Two young children, ages 2 and 4, were in the residence. They were removed by the Spotsylvania Child Abuse Response Team.
     
    Items seized at that location include one vehicle, 70 pounds of marijuana and more than 60 marijuana plants.
     
    Jones was charged with manufacturing marijuana, conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, felony child neglect and child endangerment.
     
    Investigators found another sophisticated marijuana growing system during a search of a third address, 511 Stafford Glen Court in Stafford County. An additional half-pound of package marijuana, 20 pounds of loose marijuana, 125 marijuana plants and 10 pounds of drying marijuana was seized, a spokesman for the sheriff's office said.
     
    Additional charges are expected, authorities said.

    The estimated street value of the seized, high-grade marijuana is more than $1 million. Police said the operation had existed for more than a year.