Pot plantation razed

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – The growing season came to an abrupt and early end on Dudley Avenue Tuesday when city detectives executed a warrant and shut down an extensive indoor marijuana growing operation.

Det. Timothy Grady reports, in a court document, that an on-going narcotics investigation garnered sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant for 16 Dudley Avenue which was executed Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. by Grady and his boss, Det. Sgt. Stephen K. Dickinson with detectives Brian Freeman and Daniel Gustafson who were backed up by community policing Sgt. Eric Hall and officers Patrick Shea, Sean Smith and Kevin Bard.

Grady reports that the two residents, Robert A. Burnup, 31 and Joseph J. Conroy, 44, of 16 Dudley Ave., answered the door when the officers knocked.

He stated that Burnup said he knew why the police were there and said that he and Conroy were involved in the marijuana growing operation at the house.

Burnup told the officers that he had marijuana packaged for sale and money in his second floor apartment and was escorted upstairs where he showed the detectives where cash was hidden under the couch and, in a closet, a glass jar with marijuana ready to be processed.

Burnup told the officers that the growing area was in the northeast side of the basement where “numerous (marijuana) plants at different stages of growth” were found.

Grady points out “This is typical for a marijuana dealer by having plants at different stages of growth to keep product at all time ready for sale.”

A second room in the basement, which also contained “chemical, electronic equipment, watering and ventilation systems and grow lights”, was found to contain “marijuana in the stage of drying, smaller marijuana plants and packaged marijuana ready for sale.”

Back on the second floor, the searchers also found large bundles of cash and two electronic scales.

Grady points out that “Burnup presently is unemployed and this amount of money is in excess of an unemployed person.”

Also found on the second floor were a safe which contained packaged marijuana which Grady said appeared to be a more potent variety of marijuana than that grown in the house, a mason jar filled with 2.2 ounces of pot and a package of plastic baggies.

On the first floor, an indoor garden, “assisted by grow lights and other electronic and chemical items”, was found in Conroy’s bedroom which was “very visible from outside” and consisted of numerous legal plants growing around several marijuana plants.

Grady stated that “the legal plant grow would potentially be used as a ruse to conceal the marijuana grow if the police were to attempt to investigate high electric consumption or other evidence revealed from a marijuana grow.”

The marijuana plants, the harvested marijuana, the growing equipment and cash totaling $4,595 were seized along with smoking pipes and other paraphernalia associated with using marijuana and both Burnup and Conroy were arrested for cultivating a Class D drug, possession of a Class D drug with intent to distribute and a drug violation near a school or park.

Grady reports that the suspects’ house is 272 feet away from Abner Gibbs School and thus within the narcotics exclusion zone.

The two men appeared in Westfield District Court on Wednesday before Judge Philip A. Contant for arraignment and were released on $2,500 personal surety pending an April 2 hearing.

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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