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Local News

November 20, 2012

Police: Arrest yields 44 pot plants

A 55-year-old Pittsfield woman is facing a felony marijuana-possession charge two months after state police seized dozens of pot plants being cultivated at her home on Burski Road.

Donna Pickens was charged at her residence Friday with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, troopers said. She was accused of having about 12 pounds of marijuana.

Troopers said they found lamps, ballasts and other gear used to farm marijuana indoors — as well as 44 pot plants in various stages of growth inside and outside the house — when troopers noticed the illicit plants Sept. 5 while they were conducting an unrelated investigation.

Lt. Patrick Garey of the Binghamton-based Community Narcotics Enforcement Team said the seized marijuana would retail on the streets for more than $30,000.

Troopers were looking to question an individual not involved in the growing operation when one of them saw the plants growing, Garey said.

Troopers, according to a neighbor who asked not to be named, pulled so much marijuana out of the house that it filled the back of a pickup truck.

Garey said police waited to charge Pickens because the marijuana had to dry out to determine its weight once the water contents of the plants evaporated.

The neighbor said even before numerous police vehicles converged on the house in September, she suspected drug dealing was taking place there. The neighbor said strangers would often stop there and stay for a short time.

The neighbor praised troopers for the bust.

“The more they get off the streets, the better off we are,” the neighbor said. “I’m ecstatic that they arrested her.”

Otsego County jail officials said Pickens has posted bail. She had been arraigned Friday before Pittsfield Town Justice William Post, who sent her to jail on $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond bail.

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