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September 20, 2014
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Marijuana grow house shut down; fourth in Sullivan County this year


It seems that Sullivan County is quickly becoming the preferred location in which to open a marijuana grow-house operation. Four of them have been shut down by authorities this year alone.

Most recently on November 16, Sullivan County Sherriff’s deputies and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant on Horton Road in Bloomingburg. They found what they called a “sophisticated marijuana growing operation in the basement.”

David Lieberson, 29, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana.

Sherriff Mike Schiff said, “Unlike other grow operations that we have taken down, this suspect used an electronic carbon dioxide generator instead of cylinders of the gas.” Schiff said carbon dioxide is frequently used to increase the yield of marijuana plants. Also, the operation included grow lights and a humidity control system.

Officers confiscated 60 pounds of what they called a highly potent marijuana variety known as “sour diesel,” which sells on the street for $4,000 to $6,000 a pound.

Sheriff’s deputies were tipped off to the activity by a Town of Mount Hope police officer, who went to the residence to serve a warrant on an occupant for driving with a suspended license. “No one was home at the time, but the odor of marijuana was so strong that the officer could smell it as soon as he stepped on the porch,” Schiff said.

Three other grow-house operations were shut down earlier this year. In late October, state police arrested Brent Davis, 45, of Rock Hill, and Louis Raible, 50, of Englewood, NJ for operating a grow house in Renner Road in Rock Hill.

According to authorities, the growing operation consisted of hydroponic growing beds, sophisticated high-powered lighting, heating and cooling equipment. The operation had a growing potential of over 200 high-grade marijuana plants with a street value of $3,000 per pound every three months.

In September, Phillip Tebbetts, 41, of Youngsville was arrested after police were called to investigate a disturbance on C. Speilman Road. Upon arrival, troopers detected a strong odor of marijuana, and once inside the residence they found an elaborate indoor marijuana grow operation with numerous marijuana plants in various growing stages.

In March, 16 people were arrested in a marijuana growing operation that involved six different houses, most of them in or near the town of Mamakating. The DEA released a statement at the time, which said, “This takedown has weeded over 6,000 pounds of marijuana, worth nearly $20 million dollars, off the streets of not only New York, but cities throughout the Northeast. This seizure, the largest indoor marijuana grow operation of its kind in New York, exemplifies the sophistication with which these groups operate. Marijuana remains a significant source of illegal income for drug trafficking groups in the New York.”