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Charges dropped in pot grow case


Tuesday, March 22, 2016 11:56AM

Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a Bennington man accused of running multiple pot manufacturing houses in Hillsborough, according to police. Dana Grano, 53, was originally charged with a felony count of drug manufacturing and a felony count of possession with the intent to distribute after police seized more than 80 pot plants from a Hillsborough building owned by Grano. Grano’s charges were downgraded after his lawyer called into question the legality of the search. Assistant County Attorney Brett Harpster, who prosecuted the case, dropped the manufacturing charge and downgraded the possession with intent to distribute charge to a Class A misdemeanor possession charge. 

“I thought there was a very strong suppression issue,” Harpster said in an interview Thursday. “The case law is clear and as a prosecutor you have to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of an argument. I’d rather hold someone accountable for something, rather than go forward on a suppression case and lose everything.”

Grano pled guilty to the possession charge and was sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, a $350 fine and $84 in fees.  Grano was arrested in April after an investigation by Hillsborough police, in conjunction with Deering police, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.  The agencies searched a building on 15 Bridge St., after a Deering Police officer who was at the address on a different matter allegedly spotted a pot plant and tipped off Hillsborough police.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com.