'Medical' claim not enough for pot grower

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Police raid Tilden Street home

By Mercy Lopez

An admitted marijuana grower is facing several drug-related charges after officers investigated a burglary in the area found the plants growing in his backyard, police say.

John Emerick, 42, of 924 Tilden Street has been charged with distribution of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. The distribution charge is a fourth-degree felony while the others are misdemeanors, according to official records.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, Las Vegas Lt. Juan Montaño was tracking footprints during an investigation of a burglary when he saw in plain view from the alley several marijuana plants in the backyard of Emerick’s residence. He also reported seeing a lighting system for a suspected indoor growing area.

Region Four Narcotics Task Force agents were called to the scene to further investigate and soon executed a search warrant authorized by San Miguel Magistrate Judge Philip Romero.

About 12 marijuana plants, with an estimated street value of $12,000, were confiscated, task force Sgt. Mack Allingham reported.

Emerick said he was providing medical marijuana to patients in San Miguel County — a statement that Allingham said was false.

“Mr. Emerick did not have a grower’s license to grow or cultivate marijuana on his property,” Allingham said. “Mr. Emerick admitted to agents that he ingests marijuana.”

During the search of the residence, agents located marijuana, drug paraphernalia, several burnt marijuana cigarettes, plastic baggies, scales and additional items needed for an indoor growth area such as planters, plant food and a lighting system.