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N.H. couple charged with distributing marijuana

OSSIPEE, N.H. -- Police say a mushroom farm in Freedom was also a major marijuana distribution center with illegal plants discovered in the bedroom, bathroom, barn, and camper on the property.

Police found the marijuana at the headquarters of White Mountain Mushroom Co.

The farm's owners, a married couple, Christopher McGarvey, 41, and Dianna Franke, 45, were arrested Monday and charged with manufacture of a controlled drug.

On Wednesday, they were charged with possession with intent to distribute.

About 25 police officers from nine departments discovered rows of marijuana buds draped on racks in a drying room in a barn, according to affidavits filed in Southern Carroll County District Court.

A tip on Monday prompted the investigation, authorities said. Officers initially found the barn padlocked and smelling of marijuana, according to court records.

The resulting three-day investigation was ''really unprecedented," according to Captain Jon Hebert of the sheriff's department in Carroll County.

The West Ossipee Fire Department sent two firefighters and an all-terrain vehicle to help search the 20 acres. Fish and Game officers mapped the fields and forests using global positioning equipment.

''Had we not had the support staff, what ended up as a three-day operation would have been a seven- to eight-day operation," Hebert said.

Freedom police Chief Charles Pearson said McGarvey's mushroom growing, import, and distribution business is legitimate, and that no illegal varieties of fungi were found.

Police continue to investigate where and how the drugs were allegedly distributed. Pearson was unsure whether the couple used company mushroom trucks.

Franke made frequent trips to Logan International Airport in Boston to pick up shipments of mushrooms from foreign countries. She delivered refrigerated and frozen mushrooms and other products to restaurants and stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.

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