Union Worker in Drug-Free Ad Busted For Pot Factory

September 12, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Wendell Aaron Searls, 56, of Huntington, West Virginia is a proud member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters union and he has appeared in ads for the Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation (ACT) to promote a drug-free workplace. Ironically however, Searls was arrested on Wednesday for cultivating and possessing marijuana with an intent to deliver and he was thrown in jail.

Searls appears in the ACT ads as a hard-hat-wearing spokesman touting his union as a drug-free workforce.

“Nobody wants to work next to anybody whose judgment is impaired by drugs or alcohol,” Searls says in the ad. “We don’t just talk a drug-free work force. We do something about it. The union work force is a drug-free work force,” says Searls.

However, Searls after work activities, cultivating pot in his attic in what police described, as “a highly sophisticated, efficient, well thought out marijuana production facility,” landed Searls in some hot water.

The ACT plans to remove Searls’ ad from circulation. Steve White, director of ACT expressed shock and disappointment to learn of Searls’ marijuana factory.

“Were we fooled? Apparently so,” White said. “This instance, while it might be tragic and ironic, it is exactly what we are trying to prevent — people who use illegal drugs being in the workplace,” said White.

Searls’ troubles began during a routine traffic stop, during which, police found three marijuana cigarettes and a .25 caliber pistol. The police then obtained a warrant to search Searls’ home, where they found a grow lab with more than more than 100 marijuana plants, including grow lights.

Police later searched the home of Searls’ fiance, where he kept his main residence and confiscated several more plants and documentary evidence.

Searls was jailed on a $52,000 bond, charged with two felonies.

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