Authorities release names of 9 charged in pot seizure operation - Columbia-Greene Media: News

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Authorities release names of 9 charged in pot seizure operation

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 12:30 am

CATSKILL — Local and state authorities have released the names of nine individuals linked to the seizure of 515 marijuana plants in a late August marijuana eradication operation.

Greene County Sheriff’s Office and State Police at Catskill completed a three day operation between the dates of Aug. 21 and Aug. 23 resulting in the arrests.

Among the four arrests made by the sheriff’s office, Senior Investigator Adam Brainard reported the arrest of repeat offender Aaron Wolff, 46, of County Route 25, Haines Falls.

Wolff, who was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of marijuana, unlawfully growing, a class A misdemeanor, in the recent operation, was arrested on Sept. 15, 2009 for an indoor growing operation.

“It was a garage that had been turned into a grow house,” Brainard said, “where our office captured over 200 plants.”

Wolff was placed on probation and, in the this Sept. 17, 2012 arrest, was in violation of that probation and had been remanded to Greene County Jail as a result of that violation, according to Brainard.

All others charged were first time offenders.

Additionally Greene County Sheriff’s Office charged Robert F. Litchko, Jr., 48, of Ira Vail Road, Cairo with third degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class E felony; Eznic Karakshian, 64, of county Route 67, Durham with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; and Albert Becker, 57, of Carter Bridge Road, Greenville with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

An additional five arrests were made by state police in conjunction with their involvement in the eradication operation, which included a number of helicopter flyovers to identify the location of grow sites.

As a result of their participation, state police charged George Boyd, 65, of The Lane, Earlton with unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; Dennis M. Bacon, 48, of state Route 9W, Coxsackie with second degree criminal possession marijuana, a class D felony, unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; Paul Brugeman, 62, of Cole Lane, Coxsackie with unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; David J. Wells, 48, of Bronk Mill Rd, Coxsackie with unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; and John S. Batza, 64, of state Route 144, Hannacroix with unlawfully growing cannabis, a misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Brainard said that although most people think marijuana “is not as bad as the other drugs,” these operations help to curb the potential for large sums of money to be spent on more serious crime related issues.

Several investigators from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office attended a two-day class on what to look for on indoor grow sites, Brainard said. The class broke it down as to the size of the room and how much money growers can make and the stages of the grows.

The amount of money involved in growing is amazing, Brainard said, and the reason that growers are in it is a direct result of the low penalties involved.

“These guys can get a huge amount of money for the plants,” Brainard said. “The money they make on it, usually goes toward things like weapons or more serious criminal related substances.”

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To reach reporter  W. T. Eckert, call 518-943-2100, ext. 3325, or e-mail wteckert@thedailymail.net. To comment directly to this story, go to www.thedailymail.net

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