A landlord’s request for a tax break led to his tenant being busted on charges of running a large-scale pot growing enterprise.

According to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, the unnamed landlord wanted the property in question assessed under the New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act. A peripheral inspection of the property by the municipal tax assessor determined that the property was not being used for agricultural purposes, officials said.

The owner appealed and a more thorough inspection took place. This inspection did reveal that the property was being used to grow a crop: inspectors said they found marijuana plants in cultivation.

More than 500 mature plants were discovered growing in greenhouses, pole barns and other buildings on the property. The estimated street value of the marijuana is nearly $725,000. More than 1,000 seedlings were also found, many of which were aided by a lighting and heating system to promote faster growth.

The tenant, Weiming Liu, 57, was charged with first-degree manufacturing more than 25 pounds of marijuana and third-degree possession of marijuana. He was arrested on Jan. 26 during a motor vehicle stop in Bordentown Township.

Liu was leasing the land; the owner was not charged with any illegal activity.

“We appreciate the tax assessor living up to the important motto, ‘If you see something, say something, his information directly led to the interdiction of this substantial illegal drug operation," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Cofina said.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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