Here’s some advice to anyone who wishes to grow marijuana in the backyard: Don’t post photos of the operation on Facebook.
A State Police search warrant cited just those sorts of images as justification for raiding David Vanbeber’s Gentilly home.
And when they did that on Dec. 22, they said they found 36 marijuana plants under a blue tarp in the backyard.
Vanbeber goes by “David Gurudev” on Facebook, and a quick search of his profile reveals several photos of a plant that is illegal in 48 states being grown in a backyard garden.
The warrant stated, “Mr. Vanbeber also makes comments on his Facebook page referencing the Green Revolution and Cannabis, which are terms within the marijuana community.”
According to the warrant, a confidential source tipped off the State Police’s Narcotics Section about Vanbeber’s Facebook pseudonym. This source allegedly also let them know about the growing operation in Vanbeber’s backyard, in the 3100 block of Music Street.
On first glance, Vanbeber’s home looks like many in a neighborhood that was under several feet of water after Hurricane Katrina. Trash is strewn across the front yard, and the raised foundation appears to be sliding out from under the home, which is painted a jaunty yellow. A canoe sits in the front yard.
Though there were a number of dogs in the yard, no one was home on a recent afternoon.
Two neighbors said the amateur horticulturist was a friendly but peculiar fellow who kept to himself.
A neighbor, Irvin Watson, 58, said the first thing Vanbeber did when he moved in a year ago was to install a roughly 8-foot metal and wood fence around the entire home.
When the State Police came to grab Venbeber’s plants, they used Watson’s outdoor faucet to wash their boots.
Vanbeber, who appears to have no running water, apparently made regular use of the same faucet. Another neighbor allowed him to fill buckets and jugs of water from a hose.
Watson recalled how on Dec. 22, state troopers walked out from the backyard with a number of large trash bags — presumably full of marijuana plants.
Another neighbor said he wants Vanbeber out of the house and has called a city hotline repeatedly to ask when Vanbeber will be kicked out.
“We’re trying to get the neighborhood back,” said the man, who declined to give his name. “This trash isn’t helping.”
The neighbor said Vanbeber told him after the arrest that the drug was for medical purposes. But Louisiana doesn’t permit medical marijuana. Still, days after his arrest and eventual release on bond, Vanbeber took to Facebook to advocate for a change.
“The governor of Louisiana had better act fast in making marijuana legal to grow for whoever wishes to grow it!” he wrote in all capitals on Jan. 3.