NJ Policeman Smells a Rat and Drug Bust Nets 10m Pot Factory 2
A police officer from Monroe Township smelled something in the air that helped solve a ten million dollar pot growing operation according to the Star-Ledger newspaper. Police officer Thomas Lucasiewicz smelled it through the vents in his police car as he worked the midnight shift about a month ago. As he looked for people, he did not find anyone in their yard or patio and had to assume it came from a chimney. When they knocked on the door, he and other police officers found rows and rows of marijuana plants in the basement and bedroom of a house. The aroma of pot came from plants deemed unusable in the fireplace by Thu Nguyen, a Canadian citizen who answered the door and was later arrested.
The twenty-three year old police officer has been on the job for less than three years and has cracked the operation of the biggest marijuana production in New Jersey history. Before 9/11 the Vietnamese pot growers would grow their marijuana in Canada and then bring it to the United States to sell it. Now that tighter controls are enforced, it has become harder to smuggle drugs across the Canadian border. Attorney General Paula Dow stated that the Vietnamese growers had to move their operation to the United States and thanks to the keen nose of Officer Lucasiewicz, three people of Vietnamese descent have been arrested and three more are being sought. According to Dow, five homes in Monroe, Millstone, Old Bridge, Manalapan and Manahawkin were used to grow marijuana.
The neighbors of these homes were surprised because they never saw people but cars came and left during the night and the driveway was cleared during the recent snowstorms.
The three people arrested were charged with maintaining a marijuana cultivation facility and drug possession with intent to distribute, these crimes alone can each carry twenty year sentences and they were also charged with theft of services for bypassing electrical meters at four homes to steal thousands of dollars worth of electricity to avoid detection due to the great amount of power needed for growing lamps.
The operation is unusual on the East coast according to Drug Enforcement Agents, but this operation requires setting up in a low density area where they buy or rent a house on a middle class, quiet street and keeping the blinds closed to avoid detection.