Benton Co. manhunt leads to marijuana grow operation


BENTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A joint effort by two county sheriff’s departments landed two people behind bars and put a marijuana growing operation out of business.

“They had a grow operation set up in there with grow lights and liquid fertilizer, with pumps and all kind of things like that,” Decatur County Sheriff Keith Byrd said.

Sheriff Byrd, along with Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher, found a complex marijuana grow Thursday afternoon at a mobile home in Benton County.

Jonathan Paris

“This guy really knew what he was doing,” Byrd said.

Byrd says they found the drugs while they were searching for 39-year-old Jonathan Paris, a Benton County man who is wanted in Texas on a federal warrant.

“Our search for him was unproductive, but we did stumble upon this marijuana operation,” he said.

Even though Paris was not at the mobile home where the drugs were found, Sheriff Christopher said Paris turned himself in later that day.

“What we believe he’s been doing is transporting meth back and forth from Texas,” Christopher said.

The owner of the mobile home, Donald Parker, was arrested on manufacturing and possession charges.

The two sheriffs share a county line and said they don’t let that line stop them from combating local crime.

“There’s lots of times that people bounce from one town to the next, so we have to cooperate with each other,” Sheriff Byrd said.

Sheriff Christopher said because the two work together, they are able to cover more ground. “Anytime you get a joint effort, we can double our manpower, and it’s worked out very well.”

Both Paris and Parker are being held in the Benton County jail.

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