Ninety-three marijuana plants were seized by Watauga County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detectives after a search warrant was executed on a home in Deep Gap.
Abrham Shaki, 58, of Fleetwood, was charged with trafficking in marijuana by manufacture, trafficking in marijuana by possession, manufacture marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, maintaining a dwelling and possession drug paraphernalia.
The bust happened on June 10 on Joe Greer Road, which was a large factory building, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Officials said half of the factory was used as a business and the other was half was used to cultivate marijuana.
Thirty-two of the plants seized were fully mature while the other 61 plants were at different stages of growth from three inches to four feet.
Shaki said if he didn't use marijuana to help with the side effects of his other medications he wouldn't be able to walk.
"Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson's," Shaki said.
He said he also has a condition called stiff-person syndrome.
Without treatment, he said he'd end up in a vegetative state.
"Everything just stops working,” Shaki said. “If I stop taking my medication for three days, the only way I'm able to function is if I have crutches or a wheel chair."
Shaki said he doesn’t sell marijuana to anyone.
He believes he should be treated with compassion rather than as a criminal.
"I use marijuana for these effects to try to get rid of the effects of the medication,” Shaki said. “And try to heal myself and make myself feel better. That, I can tell you."
The seized plants had a total weight of 31 pounds, according to officials.
A fully mature marijuana plant can produce anywhere from a half-pound to one pound of actual marijuana bud, according to officials.
With a total of 93 plants, the grow could have potentially yielded approximately 46 - 93 pounds of marijuana. A typical pound of marijuana is sold for $4,500. Authorities estimated the plants could have potentially made $207,000 - $418,500.
Shaki was taken to the Watauga County Detention Facility in lieu of a $10,000. He is scheduled to appear in District Court on July 30.