Posted at: 08/22/2012 2:53 PM
| Updated at: 08/23/2012 6:10 PM
By: Andrew Murphy
SCHOHARIE – Authorities in Cobleskill arrested two men in connection with a large marijuana growing operation in Schoharie County. Among the items seized was elaborate growing equipment, 460 plants, and cash.
According to police information obtained during a routine traffic stop led to the arrest of Gregory Stevenson and Ronald Ragan were arrested and charged with unlawfully growing marijuana, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Police say the plants were located with the assistance if the New York Air National Guard, Schoharie County Sheriff’s office, and the Community Narcotics Enforcement Unit.
Stevenson, 58, was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a weapon. He was arrainged in Cobleskill Town Court and remanded to Schoharie County Jail in lieu of bail.
Ragan, 64, was also charged with unlawful possession of fireworks. He was issued a ticket to appear at a later date.
For awhile Wednesday, Schoharie County investigators thought they would return from a National Guard surveillance flight empty handed.
Instead, they ended up with an estimated 100 freshly cut pot plants, an additional 100 pounds or so ready for distribution.
"Looking out the window of the helicopter, seeing what I suspected to be a marijuana plant, I asked the pilot to turn around so we could just take a better look," said sheriff's investigator Nelson Armlin. "Once we spun around and flew over that particular area you could see there was a relatively massive area where a lot of those plants were."
The pot was growing in a hidden field in the Town of Summit. Investigators don't want to say exactly where just yet. The packaged product was in the backyard of a nearby house.
They haven't made any arrests yet but believe one man is responsible and expect to bring charges.
While the establishment argues marijuana can be a gateway drug that justifies vigorous enforcement of existing laws, a considerable number of Americans use the product, for medicinal or recreational purposes.
"It's up to the legislature to make those determinations and people who are far smarter than me in that area so I take the laws as I find them and prosecute them to the best of my ability," said Schoharie County District Attorney Jim Sacket.