By Natalie Neysa Alund
Monday, October 10, 2011
Authorities say the homeowners of a posh Tellico Village home within the city limits of Loudon knew exactly what they were doing when they built their dream home at 130 Inagehi Way.
The couple, Ronald and Joanne Goldman, moved here from Florida about five years ago and allegedly set up shop in the home they designed not only to live in, but to grow marijuana.
A lot of it.
State and local law enforcement say the couple were operating a thriving weed business out of their pricey home on the south side of Tellico Village.
The Goldmans, both 53, were recently arrested after being indicted by a Loudon County grand jury on multiple drug-related offenses. So was their 33-year-old son, Andrew Goldman, and his girlfriend, Renae Hasbrouck, 27, who both spent a period living inside the home that authorities recently appraised at close to $400,000.
Authorities say no one but the Goldmans and a few others knew about the illegal operation until their son and his girlfriend got into a physical altercation earlier this year and the police were called. From grow lights and timers to fresh soil and secret cabinets with hidden paraphernalia, law enforcement discovered it all inside a secure basement area of the home following the freak happenstance this past April.
It all began April 17 when Joanne Goldman dialed 911.
According to a Loudon County Sheriff's Office report, her son and Hasbrouck were packing items to move out of the home when Hasbrouck assaulted Joanne Goldman. Her husband tried to intervene, the report states, but was assaulted by their son.
Deputy Chris Jenkins arrived and arrested the Goldman's son and Hasbrouck on domestic charges.
While there, he noticed marijuana stalks on the back porch of the home, authorities said, so he alerted the Sheriff's Office narcotics unit.
"They consented to a search of the home and we started processing the house," said Lt. Paul Curtis, director of the Loudon County Sheriff's Office narcotics unit, who responded to the home.
Aside from the marijuana stalks on the porch, officers did not find much else on the first floor of the ranch-style home.
When they descended to the basement, Curtis said, officers didn't see anything out of the ordinary at first glance either.
But after a detailed search they discovered two rooms within an unfinished area of the basement that were being used to grow marijuana.
"They had some compartments built into the basement, like un-obvious cabinets, false cabinets that the couple had built to hide paraphernalia and other items," Curtis said. "At a glance if you walked through the room you wouldn't know it was a cabinet. Kinda like floor level soffits near windows."
Officers also found several ounces of harvested marijuana and more than 300 marijuana plants, Curtis said.
"They had a standard dirt set-up with grow lights and timers to control humidity," Curtis said. "We learned they moved here from Florida in 2007 and built the home with the intention to cultivate marijuana."
Authorities, with permission from 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson, seized the home Sept. 20. That same day they arrested Ron and Joanne Goldman on drug charges including possessing between 100 and 499 marijuana plants stemming from an August grand jury indictment.
Their son and his girlfriend were also indicted on the same charges, court records show. They turned themselves in on the charges Friday, were booked into the Loudon County Jail and released in lieu of $10,000 each, a circuit clerk said.
As of Friday, Ron and Joanne Goldman also remained free on $10,000 bond
"It takes all types of people to make up a community and its unfortunate this particular type of activity was taking place in this type of neighborhood, but it could happen in any neighborhood of any stature," said Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider.