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February 14, 2014

Accused pot grower faces felony charges

A Worcester man faces multiple drug charges after officials seized $35,000 worth of marijuana and other drugs from his residence, according to a release from the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Richard William Compitello, 47, of 170 Reservoir Road, was charged with criminal possession of marijuana, a felony; and criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and unlawfully growing of cannabis by an unlicensed person, all misdemeanors. He was arrested Wednesday following a joint narcotics investigation conducted by the criminal investigation division of the sheriff’s office and agents from the Albany office of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

The effort began in the fall, following a tip deputies received about a possible marijuana growing operation at Compitello’s residence in the town of Decatur. The DEA’s aviation unit provided aerial surveillance during the investigation.

Compitello’s residence was searched Wednesday morning by sheriff’s investigators and DEA agents, who seized six pounds of dried marijuana, 10 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, a digital electronic scale, a blackjack, a dagger, $1,688 in cash, assorted fireworks, and several loaded high-powered rifles and shotguns. An additional 17 marijuana plants and more than a pound of loose marijuana, as well as a loaded .22-caliber lever-action rifle, were seized from a separate building.

Compitello was arraigned by Decatur Town Judge Vincent Lenci and remanded to the county jail on $2,500 bail, returnable Feb. 20. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on the felony charges.

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