Marijuana apartment tenant charged

A Loomis Street resident has been charged with narcotics offenses which were brought to light late last month when city firefighters found an extensive marijuana growing operating in a 13 Chestnut Street apartment which was destroyed by a fire.
Detectives had been seeking the tenant of the apartment where more than 350 marijuana plants were found to have been growing.
Det. Sgt. Ray Manos said yesterday that when officers were advised by firefighters that marijuana plants were growing in the burning apartment, a search warrant was obtained and, by the time the fire was extinguished, the officers were armed with a warrant authorizing a search of the apartment.
The tenant, who had been identified by his landlord as Derek L. Mitchell, was sought at his father’s residence but officers were told that his father had not seen him for some time. A detective attempted to reach him by phone but, when messages were not returned for days, a warrant was applied for and granted on April 4.
The warrant application listed the property seized during the search as “approximately 350 marijuana plants in various stages of maturity, packaged marijuana, electronic and lighting equipment, grow chemicals, in-door grow tents, monies, mail with Derek Mitchell’s name (G&E bill) and other narcotic paraphernalia.”
The charges sought on the application were possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute, cultivation of marijuana and a drug violation near a school or park. The warrant application asserts that 13 Chestnut St. is 508 feet from the Westfield YMCA where there is a public pre-school.
Manos said that, after the warrant was issued, a detective was able to have a “very brief” telephone conversation with Mitchell, in which he declined to come to the police station for an interview.
However, he did appear in Westfield District Court yesterday with his lawyer, David P. Hoose of Northampton.
There, Mitchell, 29, of 604 Loomis St., was arraigned on two charges of possession of a Class D drug (marijuana) with intent to distribute and a drug violation near a school or park.
Sgt. Chris Patnode of the Easthampton Police Department reports that Mitchell was arrested later that day in that city on charges of possession of a Class C drug (hashish) with intent to distribute and for distribution of a Class D drug.
He was held in Hampshire County Jail in Northampton in lieu of $2,500 cash bail pending arraignment today in Northampton District Court.

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