Manor Township Police raided a marijuana grow operation at a home in Garretts Run.
20-year-old Brandon James Heilman is now charged with possession with the intent to deliver – a felony offense in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
According to paperwork filed with District Magisterial Judge Gary DeComo, a Manor Township officer was enroute to Heilman’s residence to discuss with him another incident. Heilman was seen walking along the road when the officer encountered him. Heilman appeared extremely nervous and the smell of marijuana was obvious. Heilman was asked about his backpack and he said it was just dirty laundry, opening the top of it revealing a black sweat shirt. However, upon opening the backpack, the aroma of marijuana intensified. The backpack was searched, yielding approximately 1/4-pound of marijuana, 3 ounces of dabs, 3 individual wrapped containers/envelopes, and a moon rock. There were also drug paraphernalia such as hemostats, a brass pipe and a carb cap.
Upon transporting Heilman to the police station, he told police that “he is not a bad guy but just selling this stuff to make a better life for his family.”
A search warrant was obtained for his residence at 161 Garretts Run Road, yielding another quarter-pound of marijuana, a small grow operation of six plants, fertilizer, grow lights and timers, containers, packaging material, waxes for making dabs, scales, vacuum sealers, several pipes and bongs, and various other paraphernalia – all confirmed by Manor Police Chief Eric Petrosky.
“After we picked up Brandon earlier today, he was in possession of marijuana, dabs, some other items. We obtained a search warrant, came back to the house, got more marijuana, then there was a small grow operation in the basement with grow lights and fertilizer and the plants you see here in the back of the car.”
Heilman is not the only suspect in this case.
“The Mom’s boyfriend had some marijuana in his room, so we had a search warrant for the whole house. The boyfriend will be charged at a later date with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
Petrosky said police are aware of another location where plants are being grown and intend to make their discovery soon.
Heilman was arraigned before Judge DeComo last night and placed in the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash or property bond.
Petrosky said that although other states have eased restrictions on marijuana, stiff fines still are in place in Pennsylvania, including incarceration of up to seven years and possible fines as high as $15,000.
“It’s a big deal. Any drug that’s illegal in Pennsylvania we are going to pursue, be it marijuana, heroin, cocaine, pills, prescription pills. Marijuana can be laced with other things. The dabs can be laced. It’s a gateway drug to get people to using it. Dealers have a way of getting them hooked on it (by) putting other items in the marijuana. And then they move to another drug. I know it is legal in some other states, but currently in Pennsylvania, it’s still illegal and we’re going to do everything we can, as a police department, to make an arrest on it.”
Heilman’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9AM on August 29, 2017 in Judge DeComo’s courtroom in Ford City.