EAST ORANGE — Police say what looked like a regular four-car garage contained anything but vehicles.

What police found during their investigation into a home near Soverel Park was what they described as a "marijuana farm" valued at close to $3 million.

Public Safety Director Sheilah Coley said police found the plants after an incident was reported at the home on May 18. Police did not elaborate on what the incident was, saying that the investigation is ongoing.

"This was a high-tech, high-level marijuana-growing operation, the size of which I have not seen in my over 25 years in law enforcement," Coley said. "Grow houses like these often go unnoticed, even by next door neighbors."

According to the police two people have been arrested and a third is wanted in connection to the growing operation.

Sherline Dare, 37, was arrested and faces several charges including maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, distribution with 1,000 feet of a school, and distribution within 500 feet of a park, along with conspiracy and possession of over 50 marijuana plants.

Also arrested was Gregory Rutty, 56, who was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance under 50 grams of marijuana.

Mayor Lester Taylor credited the police department for the work being done to keep the city's streets clean.

"Since 2014, through the hard work and commitment of our officers, crime has continued a steady decrease, dropping 20 percent overall over the past two years," he said. "The brave men and women in law enforcement are a genuine reflection of our community, bound by shared experiences, rooted in common values and vested in the same goal of building a safer, stronger East Orange."

A warrant was issued for Dare's husband who is facing the same charges as his wife. If convicted, Dare faces up to 25 years in prison.

Police are asking anyone with information about Lawrence's whereabouts to call the East Orange Police Department Tips Hotline at 973-266-5041.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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