A moose rummaging his way through a Burlington, Vermont neighborhood is apparently enough of a reason for police to search private property without a warrant. At least, that’s the precedent set over the weekend.
Burlington police were called to help out the Vermont Fish and Game wardens in the area who were tracking down a moose wandering through a residential neighborhood. While searching high and low for the massive moose, police apparently made their way through people’s private property – which is how they came upon 32 pot plants locked in a shed.
Never mind that they had no real reason to be on the property in the first place, the fact that the cops weren’t even acting as cops at the time (they were basically DOW volunteers looking for a lost animal) still didn’t prevent them from calling in for a warrant and seizing the plants as well as arresting the man living in the home.
Cops say that 29-year-old Josh Brunelle was cultivating 32 marijuana plants in varying stages of flowering. According to WPTZ News, Brunelle is currently being held on a $5,000 bond.
The moose, meanwhile, never was found. Who would have guessed that a massive, intelligent animal would eventually wander back to his natural habitat just outside of town? (Clearly not the Vermont Fish and Game department.)
While Vermont tends to be seen as a progressive, crunchy-granola hippie state, penalties for marijuana cultivation are far from that ideal. Cultivation of more than 25 plants is a felony charge with up to 15 years in jail and as much as $500,000 in fines.