A traffic stop recently led to the discovery of a marijuana growing operation.

Earl Ray Williams Jr., 48, 436 Grass Lick Road, Ripley, was charged with a felony count of cultivation of marijuana.

Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, Deputy J.B. Thompson of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department observed a dark blue Chevy Cavalier traveling south on Washington Street in Ravenswood. The vehicle did not have a motor vehicle inspection sticker, and the driver was not wearing a seat belt, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson County Magistrate Court.

Thompson followed the vehicle as it turned left onto U.S. 33 and conducted a traffic stop. Thompson made contact with William, who allegedly appeared to be nervous, the complaint alleges.

Thompson asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, and Williams allegedly stated he had marijuana in his right pants pocket, according to the complaint. Thompson discovered a bag containing suspected methamphetamine, the complaint states.

While Thompson was searching the vehicle, 911 dispatchers reported Williams had an active warrant out of Putnam County. Williams was taken into custody and transported to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

When asked about previous charges of marijuana cultivation, Williams allegedly told officers he was currently growing marijuana at his residence at 436 Grasslick Road in Ripley. Williams also stated he had pictures of his marijuana grow on his cellular phone.

Deputy Lucas Casto obtained a search warrant for Williams residence, and officers discovered a small grow room located in the rear part of the residence. The grow room consisted of several florescent lights, a water irrigation system, a box fan, and numerous marijuana plants.

The officers also found multiple alleged marijuana plants directly behind Williams residence. The officers found a total of 63 plants, the complaint alleges.