Maine Police Bust Portable Marijuana Nursery


Photo: David Learning/Morning Sentinel
Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey inspects the inside of a self-contained nursery unit, with lights, fans and a watering system, that was confiscated Tuesday night from two men who were pushing it down the street. Police claimed they found marijuana residue inside.

​Police in Waterville, Maine, said they’ve never seen anything like the “portable marijuana nursery” they confiscated from two men pushing it down the street late at night — but it’s actually a quite ordinary “grow closet” of the type easily found, and purchased, on the Internet.

Officers investigated after getting a report from an “alert citizen” — OK, a bored neighborhood housewife — on Tuesday of two men pushing what appeared to be a huge toolbox down the street, making a lot of noise, reports WMTW.
Sgt. Daniel Ames and another officer followed the tracks in the snow from the wheels of the metal unit and found the men near a shed on Green Street (yes, really) with a box that fit the description.

Ames recognized one of the men as Justin Leibowitz, 34, and asked the two if they had seen anyone pushing a large box, reports Amy Calder of the Central Maine Morning Sentinel.
“One of the individuals said, ‘Yeah, we were pushing a nursery — do you want to see it?’ He pushed the shed door open and Ames said in the middle of the shed was a very large white box,” Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said.
He said one of the men was more than willing to tell Ames it was a nursery for plants.
“he opened the door to show Ames, and there was nothing in it, although Ames could see on the bottom of the shelving what we call ‘shake’ — partial leaves and residue,” Massey said. “He could smell a strong odor of marijuana.”
The box turned out to be a self-contained marijuana-growing unit, with lights, fans and a watering system inside, according to Chief Massey.
“It’s the first time I can remember when we have seized such an elaborate, sophisticated, self-contained unit,” Massey said Wednesday.
Massey claimed police found “marijuana residue” in the box, which is 4.5 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall.

Photo: Morning Sentinel
Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey: “Definitely a first for us”

​”Obviously the indoor ones we’ve become somewhat familiar with,” said Deputy Police Chief Charles Rumsey, adopting the world-weary air he imagines a cop from a bigger city, like those he spent 10 weeks with last year at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, might have. “The fluorescent lights, sometimes the watering systems, sometimes the fans,” he said.
“For the size of the operation to find something that is very small, self-contained, and a unit that could actually be rolling down the street somewhere is definitely a first for us,” said Rumsey, who should get out more.
Police said they’d see sheds and garages converted into marijuana growing operations with makeshift watering systems, but they thought the metal box was quite unusual.
“This is very elaborate and high-tech; it has the ability to automatically turn on the watering and other systems by electronic means,” Chief Massey said.
Leibowitz was only charged with “possession of drug paraphernalia,” so apparently there wasn’t a respectable enough amount of “marijuana residue” to scratch up a decent pot possession charge.
Police, though, claimed Liebowitz “has a lengthy criminal record with many drug convictions.”
For news video on the case, visit WMTW News 8.