2 arrested, garden seized in ECC raid
Just as a major thunderstorm erupted Tuesday night in the city of East Carbon, local police began serving a residential warrant which lead to multiple felony arrests, the confiscation of 17 suspected marijuana plants and a cache of illegal prescription narcotics.
"Last night (Tuesday) I was contacted by one of our officers, Shawn Sackett, who reported that he had received an anonymous tip that someone in East Carbon was growing marijuana," explained East Carbon Police Sgt. Phillip Holt. "At that time, he was able to get a hold of the city attorney who helped him secure a search warrant with a local judge and we proceeded forward from there."
According to Holt, the warrant was executed at 126 Shuman at approximately 10 p.m. Once inside the residence, local investigators including Holt, Sackett, Chief Sam Leonard and Officer Kelsey Shumway found the 17 plants, several different prescription narcotics including trans-dermal fentanyl patches and what Holt described as a complex cultivation setup.
"This setup had automatic watering systems, which used only bottled water," explained the local Sgt. "Florescent lighting, humidifiers, and fans were also being used and a small generator was being kept in the home to keep the system going in case of a power outage. This is definitely one of the most elaborate cultivation systems we have ever seen in East Carbon."
Following the seizure, EC Police took 22-year-old Christopher Pittenger and 23-year-old Jessica Urban into custody for cultivation of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance as well as separate possession charges for the prescription medications found within the home.
According to Holt, both Pittenger and Urban took responsibility for the marijuana, reporting that Urban used the substances to help deal with chronic pain issues.
"Both suspects were very cooperative," said the East Carbon Sgt. "In fact, the chief, myself and officer Shumway were observing the home while officer Sackett was working on obtaining the warrant. During this time, the suspects came home and we approached the residence to make sure no evidence was disposed of. We were on the porch when Mr. Pittenger came out of the home and at that time I let him know he was being detained. I let him know about the information we had received and at that time he admitted that he was growing marijuana and informed us concerning its whereabouts. We waited for another 10 or 15 minutes for the warrant and then entered the home with the suspect."
Holt reported that the suspect's cooperation will not be lost on a presiding judge as the case moves forward.
"A peaceful and civil situation aids in both officer and citizen safety, a matter of paramount importance for any law enforcement agency.
As Sun Advocate officials photographed the evidence, Holt was candid about the area's drug problem and the local police's role in combating it.
"During my career drug use has remained about the same in our area," he concluded. "However, the type of drugs have changed. This is the first big cultivation bust we have had in a long time. We see so many problems with prescription narcotics these days and that is tough for us to deal with. It is difficult to fight against a drug problem which often times begins from a legal prescription. There are times when our hands are tied."