MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) - Two men are recovering after an explosion destroyed a house in Moon Township over the weekend.
Several neighboring homes also sustained significant damage.
Investigators are still looking into what caused the explosion, but while they were at the scene hey made an entirely different discovery – a marijuana growing operation.
While Moon Township Police were evacuating residents from the neighborhood, they discovered 61-year-old Willie Amend's marijuana growing operation in his house next door to the explosion.
When an officer went to Amend's house after the explosion, no one answered the door. The officer went inside and smelled marijuana. Then, police got a call about Amend's whereabouts.
"My detectives got an anonymous tip they observed the resident at 1660 Charlton Heights cutting down plants in the backyard and putting them in plastic bags right after the house exploded," Captain Greg Seamon said.
Amend was evacuated from his home and was not charged at the time.
On Sunday, Moon Township Police got a warrant, went inside and found up to 15 large plants, lights for growing marijuana and other paraphernalia.
"It was still in the raw form of plants. It wasn't dried out or anything. In that form it looked like it was at least 50 pounds," Captain Seamon said.
Police also took at least eight hunting rifles and a large handgun from the residence. Several neighbors defended Amend
"It's not like there's meth or cocaine or something going on here. We were more worried about next door," one neighbor said.
Amend is charged with possession, possession with intent to deliver and manufacturing a controlled substance.
"His timing wasn't the perfect timing in the world. It just happened when the house exploded and he was right next door," Captain Seamon said.
Moon Township Police said they never received any tips and were basically unaware of Amend's alleged operation.
Police are still checking out the weapons taken from his home. In the meantime, he remains locked up in the Allegheny County Jail.
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