Sheriff Mike Schiff left, Det. Sgt Don Starner, and NYSEG
Lineman Fred Shaver confer in front of the suspected
grow house on Southwoods Drive
MONITCELLO -- Sullivan County Sheriff's deputies Tuesday raided a suspected
marijuana growing operation in Bridgeville. Three people were arrested.
The residence, which was located at 436 Southwoods Drive, was unoccupied
when deputies arrived, but contained sophisticated growing equipment including
lights, timers and special insulation on the walls.
Sheriff Michael Schiff said the grow house appears to have been operating
since August of last year.
Deputies developed information about the residence as a result of a traffic
stop on Thursday afternoon, February 25, during the snow storm. Deputies
stopped a U-Haul van on Route 17 near exit 108 that contained 28 pounds
of marijuana and arrested Raul Delacruz, 46, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey,
Alberto Delacruz, 31 of the Bronx, and Ambiorix Urena, 23 of the Bronx.
All three men were charged with criminal possession of marijuana in the
first degree, a felony. They were remanded to the Sullivan County Jail
Town of Thompson Highway Superintendent Richard Benjamin helped Sheriff's
deputies on Tuesday reach the residence, which was about one-quarter mile
into the woods, by plowing out the driveway.
Linemen from NYSEG responded to the scene and determined that the electric
meter at the residence had been bypassed resulting in an artificially
low electric bill.
Detectives confiscated approximately $20,000 worth of growing equipment.
County records show that the residence is owned by Raul Delacruz who was
arrested, and Jose Delacruz of the Bronx, who was not present.
Taking a quick inventory of the flower pots, and by examining a calendar
with notes that the suspects had left on the wall, Schiff estimated that
the grow operation could produce upwards of $1 million a year in marijuana.
The case remains under investigation with more charges pending.