Rutland police: Water leak led to marijuana - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland police: Water leak led to marijuana

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RUTLAND, Vt. -

Police in Rutland say they seized 209 marijuana plants and thousands of dollars in grow lights and other equipment after uncovering a marijuana growing operation at 91 East Street.

"I think they have a lot of stones to grow right here in the middle of this community," Evan Bergen said.

Bergen has lived in Rutland for 25 years and catches the bus daily across the street from the home. Police say a neighbor noticed a lot of water leaking from the second floor of the home. When officers arrived they say they saw marijuana plants and growing equipment on the second and third floors of the building and got a search warrant.

"This is the first time I've seen a grow in this city that had this high end lighting, irrigation, ventilation-- just basically the house retrofitted for growing," Rutland Police Sgt. Matthew Prouty said.

Police say they called Green Mountain Power. The utility shut off all power before the search began. They feared the water being used to water the plants leaked onto electrical wires and posed a fire risk.

One neighbor who didn't want his name used told us that he isn't surprised at what police found inside.

"We always saw the shades shut and people coming in and out over the year, and we always wondered what was going on. Sure enough, it's a grow operation," he said.

He worries illegal grow operations like this hurt those who use legal medical marijuana.

"It's unfortunate for people who are doing it medicinally. This is the wrong way of going about it," he said.

Another neighbor, Robert Evans, agrees the bust isn't a shock, but the location of the grow operation is.

"Nothing surprises me these days in Rutland. I see a lot of stuff going on and a lot of people doing crazy stuff," Evans said. "This part of Rutland on East Street and most of this side of Route 7 is pretty safe most of the time."

We have learned from investigators that the owner of the home has the title in a New York company name and did not live here. They believe the plants were being grown by a tenant who was renting a room in the building, but are not yet releasing a name.

Police say the investigation is active and they are asking anyone with information to contact the Rutland Police Department. Growing more than 29 plants constitutes a cultivation grow and is a felony that carries up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.

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