Photo by David Grace.
An argument over a stolen bowl between two neighbors -- and subsequent shooting attempt -- have led police to 16 pounds of marijuana at a Bluff City home. Police say the street value of the plants is approximately $16,000.
While no one was injured, one man, Freddie Guy Wampler, of 805 Ryder Church Road, has been arrested. He is facing drug and assault charges.
According to court records and police reports, the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office was called to 1792 Ryder Church Road at 10 p.m. Wednesday. They spoke with the resident, Steven Carr, 38.
Carr relayed that Wampler had came to his residence, and he went outside to speak with him. While Wampler was seated in his green Nissan truck, he accused Carr of stealing his bowl, a pipe used for smoking marijuana.
Carr told police that when he denied stealing his pipe, Wampler raised a .22-caliber rifle from his lap. Carr stated he grabbed the barrel of the rifle and hit Carr in the head with his other hand.
Wampler then fired the rifle three times, according to police reports, before an unidentified passenger in the truck grabbed it away. Wampler then left the area, leaving Carr unharmed.
At least four witnesses to the events at the home corroborated Carr's report to police. Deputies then went to Wampler's trailer at 805 Ryder Church Road.
Deputies spoke with Wampler, who admitted to going to Carr's residence. He said the purpose was to confront Carr for stealing his bowl a couple days prior, but denied having a rifle.
Deputies asked Wampler for consent to search his home, which was granted. During the search they allegedly found a room containing 16 recently cut marijuana plants.
"The room contained grow lights, fertilizer, a watering system for the plants and other items of paraphernalia used for growing marijuana," reads a Sullivan County affidavit.
Deputies also received consent to search Wampler's truck in the driveway, locating three spent .22-caliber casings in the driver's side floorboard.
A search of the yard and wooded area around Wampler's residence allegedly found additional cut marijuana plants, a loaded .30-caliber rifle and .30 and .22-caliber ammunition.
Court records say that after being advised of his Miranda rights, Wampler admitted to growing marijuana for approximately a year. He told police it was for his personal use and he never sold it -- he gave it away.
He also continued to deny the alleged confrontation at Carr's residence.
Wampler is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, manufacture of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a dwelling where illegal narcotics are sold or stored and possession of schedule VI drugs for resale.
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