HARRISONBURG — Based on a tip that a Broadway man’s home was using eight times the amount of electricity a typical residence uses, agents with the RUSH Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant and raided the home Wednesday night.
Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson said today that officers thought they were going to find a marijuana growing operation in the home at 16991 Runions Creek Road, where Jonas Diener lives. Excessive power usage is often found at so-called “grow houses,” where high-powered lamps are used to nurture marijuana plants. In 2010, Diener was found with about a half-pound of pot in his filing cabinet at Rosetta Stone’s Harrisonburg office, where he worked a the time.
While they did find some marijuana Wednesday night, officers found something they weren’t expecting: a “shocking” array of computers, Hutcheson said. The sheriff said it was the kind of large network of computing devices. The scale of the array was what one would expect to find at a large university research lab or some financial-services companies.
“There was a very high level of computer activity,” said Hutcheson. “It’s definitely inconsistent with any home computer activity. It was certainly enough to raise our suspicion.”
He said agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency were called to the home to investigate the computer system for any illicit activity. It’s not clear if police suspect a certain crime or crimes associated with the computers found at the home.
Diener, 36 has been charged with felony distribution of marijuana.
Hutcheson said the investigation is ongoing. The Daily News-Record will have more on this story in Friday’s print and online editions.