COHASSET—Police say they have suspects but are waiting for evidence to come back from the lab before charging anyone with growing more than 500 marijuana plants on municipal land near Wompatuck State Park.
“The detectives have some strong leads,” Deputy Police Chief William Quigley said Thursday. “We want to make sure the physical evidence supports the persons we think are responsible.” He said the evidence was found at the site but would not specify what it was.
Quigley said an anonymous caller phoned police on Wednesday to say that someone was growing marijuana in a densely vegetated area in town known locally as the “Wolf Pit.” Police searched for several hours before finding five separate garden plots—altogether containing about 530 marijuana plants—on property owned by the town Water Department, he said.
Police called the town’s Department of Public Works to dig up the plants in the latest example of what Quigley called “guerrilla farming,” in which marijuana is cultivated away from the grower’s property, often on public land. The plants were taken to the Police Department’s evidence room, where they are taking up a lot of space and adding a definite aroma, he said.
The plants were at different stages of maturity—ranging from about a week old to about eight or nine weeks old and almost ready to harvest, Quigley said. Each plant could produce about a pound of marijuana, and each pound has a street value of about $1,800, he said.
The gardens, which were near each other, included automated water mechanisms and the plants were healthy, Quigley said.
“Last week’s rain helped, and it was going to be a bumper crop; someone is probably not too happy right now. This was a very organized and sophisticated growing operation that would have netted the grower about 500 pounds of marijuana worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.
“We’ve had smaller grow operations in the same area, the last one probably three years ago. But they were just a few plants,” he added.
Quigley said it would have been difficult to find the plants without a tip since the site, off Beechwood Street, was hidden by dense brush and located in a remote area of conservation land, near the edge of Wompatuck State Park and the town reservoir.
Quigley said the marijuana growers could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail on misdemeanor charges of cultivating and possession of marijuana.
Johanna Seltz can be reached at email@example.com.