The Homer Police Department, with the help of the Soldotna Drug Enforcement Unit, uncovered a large marijuana grow operation in Homer on Friday. More than 1,000 plants were seized, which police said had a street value of nearly $1.5 million.

The plants and growing equipment were discovered after a Homer police officer, looking for a wanted felon in the area, stepped out of his patrol car on Collie Street and “observed an overwhelming odor of growing marijuana” from a building. He obtained a warrant to search the building, and entered with other officers and the SDEU team. They found 1,012 growing plants and over $25,000 worth of hydroponic and lighting equipment.

While police were still at the scene, Joseph Gabryszak arrived at the building. Police said in an affidavit that Gabryszak lived in a small room in the building and had been leasing the building for several months.

Gabryszak allegedly told authorities the grow operation was “his and his alone.”

“He stated it was about to be legal to grow marijuana and he wanted to know if he could do it,” police said in court documents.

Gabryszak was arrested and charged with three counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. He was arraigned in Homer Court on Saturday.