Police turn lights out on would-be medical pot grower’s efforts

TRENTON — A car leaving a closed business led police last week to thwart a local man’s apparent plans to grow medical marijuana.

Officers on patrol about 2:30 a.m. noticed a black Pontiac Grand Prix leaving Monsignor John Eppenbrock Knights of Columbus Council 3615, 5474 W. Jefferson, and became suspicious after seeing the front-seat passenger try to put on his seat belt at Toledo and Hoover. The trunk lid appeared to be partly open, police said.

While speaking with the passenger, a 35-year-old resident, and the driver, a 22-year-old resident, officers noticed that the back seat was filled with objects inside garbage bags and burlap bags. Upon inspection they discovered a timer cord on one of the lights, which are used to grow plants.

A K-9 officer indicated the presence of narcotics in the back seat, but police did not find any inside the car or on the occupants.

The driver said he was thinking about starting a medical marijuana business and had bought the lights in the K of C parking lot from a man he met at a local bar, and that there were more in the trunk. The driver also told police they could have the lights, as he believed they were stolen.

Police at that point believed there was no crime and began photographing the lights and the car’s occupants. While doing so, however, a records check on the passenger showed outstanding warrants from Garden City. Police arrested him and turned him over to Garden City officers and released the driver on the scene.

Trenton police then recalled that there was a greenhouse on top of Trenton Forging, 5523 Hoover, near where they had made the traffic stop. They checked the greenhouse and saw a ladder near a hanging electrical cord, as well as several electrical cords hanging over a row of plants.

Police then stopped the driver again and retained as evidence the lights, a pack of cigarettes recovered near the greenhouse that apparently belonged to one of the car’s occupants and a burlap bag found on the greenhouse floor. They then took the driver into custody.

— Tom Tigani