PHOENIX - An illegal marijuana growing operation was sniffed out by a Phoenix police officer who was on a totally unrelated assignment.
The pictures are pretty incredible, but the back story is even better.
Every few months, Officer Jacob Lewis stops at a memorial at the very place Officer Marc Atkinson lost his life in the line of duty in 1999.
"I have a wife and five children and so I always keep close to my heart the sacrifices they've made," says Officer Lewis.
When he drove by the memorial on Friday night he says, "I had my windows rolled down and smelled a very, very strong odor of marijuana."
But, with no other information to go on, he laughs and says he just followed his nose, "kind of like a K-9!"
His unit responded to the area and smelled their way to a warehouse near 30th Avenue and Thomas Road and hit the jackpot: a total of 675 live marijuana plants.
"All the way from little seedlings to well over 6-foot tall plants," Lewis says.
All the plants were being cultivated and grown in a very sophisticated operation in two warehouses with watering systems and special lighting.
Police arrested the man they say is responsible, 58-year-old William Becker.
"From what we understand about the growth of marijuana, it would be around 450 pounds, $1.35 million, street value," Lewis explains.
That makes it the largest pot bust in recent memory, less than a hundred feet from the memorial where Lewis was paying his respects.
"I was there for him, this never would have happened otherwise."
He calls it Divine Intervention, thanks to a fallen comrade, who Lewis says is surely looking down and smiling.