$160,000 in pot seized
Grow house raid in New Ipswich leads cops to larger drug operation
NEW IPSWICH — A drug bust on Huse Road in New Ipswich at the end of March led to police, state and federal agencies seizing more than 700 marijuana plants in New Ipswich and Massachusetts, as well as more than $160,000 worth of processed marijuana, in what New Ipswich police are calling the most significant drug seizure in the department’s memory.
On March 26, through information obtained from a cooperating source cultivated through a nearby mutual aid agency, police obtained a search warrant for a house at 125 Huse Rd. in New Ipswich. There, they found a growing operation with marijuana plants in various stages of growth, processed marijuana, growing equipment and boxes police believe were used to grow marijuana in a nearby swampy area.
During the course of their investigation, police found enough evidence to support a second search warrant for another, nearby residence, 100 Huse Rd., where they found more of the same growing and processed marijuana and growing equipment.
Police arrested the owners of the two homes, Paul Landry, 55, and Charles Greenleaf, 41, both of New Ipswich, following the search. Both were charged with being in control of premises containing controlled drugs, manufacturing a drug believed to be marijuana, manufacturing a drug believed to be hashish, and two counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute. In addition, Landry, who was convicted of a felony-level sexual assault by the Hillsborough North Superior Court in 1988, was charged with four counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm for weapons found at his home. Among the weapons seized were a 12-gauge Sears shotgun, a 7.62 caliber AK47 Romarm rifle, a .36 caliber black powder ASM revolver and a .410 gauge New England Firearms shotgun.
Greenleaf was charged with five counts of possession of a controlled drug without a prescription for Conderta, M. Amphet Salt, Focalin XR, Dextroampletamine Sulfate and seven 30 milligram pills of Ritalin.
Seized from the two houses were 120 marijuana plants, between 30 and 50 pounds of processed marijuana, thousands of dollars worth of growing equipment, such as lights, a block of hashish and four grams of hashish oil. The approximate street value of those drugs is more than $160,000, said New Ipswich Police Lt. Sean Cavanaugh in an interview Tuesday.
Police called in all hands that day, in order to deal with the sheer amount of evidence, said Cavanaugh. Not only did New Ipswich pull in all six of its full-time officers, but also officers from the N.H. State Police and N.H. Fish and Game to assist in transporting and processing all of the evidence found within the homes. Even then, said Cavanaugh, the process took a full 12 hours to complete.
Cavanaugh noted that to his knowledge, this is the largest drug bust New Ipswich has ever conducted. Police Chief Tim Carpenter agreed, saying, “It’s certainly the largest I’ve seen, and I’ve been here for 11 years.”
Though police were expecting a drug operation when they executed the search warrant, Cavanaugh said he was surprised at the volume and “professional” nature of the operation. “Usually in my career, I’ve seen small indoor grows, medium-sized outdoor grows,” he said. “But nothing like this, with so many plants in multiple stages of growing.”
Further investigation led police across the border into Massachusetts, to two additional suspected grow houses. Police contacted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for assistance and turned the information over to them for further investigation.
While investigation into the Massachusetts houses was ongoing, police did not release any information regarding the arrests in New Ipswich, in order to protect investigating agents. Last week, however, two houses in Peabody, Mass., were raided in connection with the New Ipswich case.
From those homes, an additional 600 marijuana plants were seized, along with an extensive amount of grow equipment and other drug paraphernalia, including honey butane oil and a hashish press. New Ipswich police were unable to confirm any arrests following those drug seizures, but did say that the investigations into the Peabody growers will likely lead to other investigations. Calls to the DEA seeking information about arrests charges brought in the Peabody houses were not returned by press time Wednesday.
Cavanaugh said he believed that most of the drugs produced at the two Huse Road locations were going over the border into Massachusetts, rather than being sold locally.
Carpenter acknowledged the officers on the New Ipswich squad for their work throughout the investigation. “These guys are detail-oriented and efficient, and that’s why this investigation went as far as it did. To be honest, that’s why this group was put together. They are knowledgeable and good at their job,” said Carpenter of his officers.
New Ipswich police also thanked State Police and N.H. Fish and Game for their assistance with the investigation.
Greenleaf was arraigned at the 8th Circuit Court, Jaffrey, and released on $8,000 personal recognizance bail and $2,000 cash bail. Landry has not yet been arraigned, according to police.
By statute, the felony-level charges are punishable by seven and a half years to 15 years in the N.H. State prison, and the misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year for each charge.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.