Investigators seize more than $800K in marijuana, $30K in cash

By Anna Norris

Investigators seize more than $800K in marijuana, $30K in cash

April 10, 2014 Updated Apr 10, 2014 at 8:07 PM EST

Unadilla, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) A man was arrested on Wednesday after investigators searched his home and found a large grow operation with nearly 150 marijuana plants.

John Thomas Laing, 53, of Unadilla, had been under surveillance for two and a half months, according to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies obtained a search warrant for Laing’s residence and, along with DEA special agents, discovered an extensive grow operation inside of his home.

The following items were seized: over 10 pounds of marijuana, 95 marijuana plants, 54 cloned marijuana plants, a triple beam balance, approximately $10,000 in growing equipment, and $30,102 in cash.

Laing had previously been arrested in 2004 when he was found to have a large indoor marijuana grow operation in the Town of Oneonta.

“We are making it very clear that law enforcement and our community will not tolerate any sort of illegal drug distribution ring in our neighborhoods,” said James Hunt, DEA Special Agent, “Laing did not learn his lesson the first time around and was arrested yesterday for the second time in 10 years… for the same crime.”

According to Hunt, over $800,000 worth of marijuana destined for street sales by Laing’s enterprise was seized.

Laing was arrested by investigators and special agents for criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree, a class C felony, and unlawfully growing of cannabis by an unlicensed person, a misdemeanor under the NYS Public Health Law.

On Wednesday evening, he was taken to the Otsego County Jail. If convicted, Laing faces up to five and a half years in state prison.

Steven R. Carpenter, age 36, of Guilford, N.Y., was at Laing’s residence during the execution of the search warrant and was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana.