October 25, 2012 —
Two men have been arrested after a three month investigation by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, and the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office. On Thursday October 25 at approximately 2:25 a.m. sheriff’s deputies and agents from the DEA Strike Force executed a search warrant at 879 Shandelee Road in the Town of Callicoon. Inside the residence, officers discovered a sophisticated marijuana growing operation.
Three hundred and sixty-two marijuana plants were divided up into three different rooms according to their particular stage of growth. “The most mature plants were sporting buds the size of sweet potatoes”, said Sheriff’s Detective Jason Gorr. Antonio Santana, 44, and his cousin Jose Santana, 47, were taken into custody without incident.
Both men gave an address in the Emerald Green subdivision in Rock Hill as their residence, but investigators believe they are really from the Washington Heights section of Manhattan and the Bronx.
In addition to the plants, a loaded shotgun was seized as well as thousands of dollars of growing equipment and fertilizer.
The electric meter had been bypassed to conceal the actual electric usage. Investigators estimate that the operation had the potential to produce approximately 900 pounds of high grade marijuana per year with a street value in excess of $3 million dollars.
“It seems Sullivan County is becoming well known for its indoor agriculture,” said Sheriff Mike Schiff who noted that drug dealers like rural areas where they are less likely to attract attention.
Antonio and Jose Santana were charged with Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the First Degree and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. They were arraigned before Town of Thompson Judge Martin Miller and sent to the Sullivan County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail each. District Attorney James Farrell, whose office prepared the search warrant, will be prosecuting the case.