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Published: August 29, 2008 10:00 pm ShareThisPrintThis
Police bust pot farm
By Angeljean Chiaramida
Staff writer

SALISBURY - An ongoing drug investigation took a step forward yesterday morning when police from several agencies smashed through the doors at 156 and 156A Bridge Road, finding dozens of potted marijuana plants hidden in a phragmite thicket behind the house.
Traffic stalled as drivers and bystanders from area businesses ogled as a long line of about a dozen cruisers with lights flashing descended on the property along busy Route 1 at 11:35 a.m. Officers dashed out quickly with a battering ram and smashed in the doors. They found no inhabitants but were successful in finding what appears to be the cultivation of marijuana with the intent to distribute. No other drugs were found. Police were at the site searching for at least two hours.
Although police had not formally charged anyone as of press time, the execution of the search netted a number of "persons of interest," said Salisbury police Detective Mark Thomas, who is leading the investigation. Thomas refused to give the names of those involved, but said among those interviewed at the scene was the individual police believe "has control over the property."
Another woman was questioned after she pulled into the driveway at 156A Bridge Road in between a multitude of police cruisers, while about 20 officers were visible searching the properties. Others who appeared while police were actively searching the property were also questioned at the scene. No one, however, was taken away in handcuffs or arrested.
Thomas said the interstate investigation involved officers from Kingston, N.H., and Plaistow, N.H., and Newbury police departments. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency took to the air for aerial photos of the property.
Also assisting with the warrant's execution yesterday were units and officers from the Essex County Sheriff's Department and Newburyport and Amesbury police departments, including Kaybar, Amesbury's drug-sniffing canine officer who canvased the properties with his handler, officer Tom Nicoles.
Officers at the scene documented everything with video and still cameras, as others scoured the site and the tightly packed phragmites standing about 7 feet tall that infest the property behind 156A Bridge Road. Found interspersed were more than two dozen plants about 5 to 6 feet tall in large plastic pots. Within the home, police confiscated bags of fertilizer and other gardening equipment.
Two of the pots had only 3-inch sheared off stalks showing, perhaps indicating that whatever plant had been in the container had been cut down. It took two runs to get all the plants back to the police station in the department's pickup truck.
Thomas, who headed up the investigation for Salisbury, would not comment on what possible charges could be forthcoming, saying this evidence is possibly linked to other drug-related cases under investigation.
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