Middletown man pleads guilty to manufacturing marijuana

WINCHESTER – A Middletown man pleaded guilty in Frederick County Circuit Court on Thursday to the manufacturing of marijuana after authorities discovered a growing operation in his residence.

Joey Lee Rhoton, 35, will serve two years of probation, with five years of incarceration suspended.

The sentence comes from an incident that occurred Jan. 2 when law enforcement officers arrived at Rhoton’s house to investigate his vehicle. When the officers smelled marijuana outside of the residence, they requested to search it, Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Robbins stated in a summary of the evidence.

After Rhoton consented to the search, officers found a jar of marijuana in the house on the main floor, Robbins said. Upon looking further, they found a grow operation upstairs, along with smoking devices, a scale, a magazine on marijuana-growing techniques and several plants of varying maturation.

According to Robbins, although Rhoton claimed the plants were for personal use, the items found at the scene suggested an intent to distribute.

Robbins said authorities gathered just less than one pound of marijuana.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.