A Wendell woman who asked police for protection while she moved out the house where she and her wife lived was charged with felony marijuana possession early Thursday after the officers who came there found plants in a grow room behind a closet, according to arrest and search warrants.
Virginia Ann Browning, 45, of 510 Marshburn Road in Wendell was charged with possession of 13 marijuana plants, maintaining a residence to grow marijuana and growing marijuana within 1,000 feet of the property of Wendell Elementary School. All are felony charges.
In a search warrant they obtained Wednesday night, Wendell police said Browning had called them to the home that she and her wife own, saying she wanted to gather her belongings and was worried.
“Ms. Browning had been involved in a domestic altercation recently at her residence” and was concerned that her wife “could return and make it hard for her to leave,” police wrote in asking a magistrate for the warrant to search the house.
Officer Justin Loy said he and Sgt. Jamie Gill smelled marijuana and asked Browning where it was.
She showed them marijuana and a pipe in the living room and was given a citation for having them. Later, Browning gave Gill permission to search a bedroom, Loy said in the application.
In the bedroom, he wrote, the marijuana smell was stronger, and Browning let the officers search in a closet and then unlocked a panel that led to a room behind the closet.
Police saw the plants and grow lights, arrested Browning at 1 a.m. and applied for the search warrant, Loy said.
An inventory attached to the warrant when it was returned to the court clerk’s office after the search included the 13 plants, a cultivation guide, lights, a power supply, a growing plan and a copy of “High Times” magazine. Police said the plants were in various stages of growth and curing, and that they also seized a ventilation system.
Browning was held at the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $40,000 bail and scheduled for a court appearance Thursday.
Wake County real estate records show the house is owned by Browning and Wendy Kanable. The records show Kanable purchased the home in 2007 and both names were included on the deed in 2012.
The arrest warrant indicates that Kanable and Browning married in October 2014.
Wendell Chief Bill Carter said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the case remains under investigation and that police anticipate additional charges and arrest. He declined Friday to say if Kanable was being considered as a suspect.
Staff writer Aaron Moody contributed to this report.