Federal prosecutors have charged an FDNY firefighter with maintaining a marijuana grow house—with 100 plants— in a rented Queens home's basement. Patrick Murray was "arraigned on charges of manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute."
Apparently the DEA has been looking at a "narcotics trafficking organization that grows marijuana in houses in Queens and sells it throughout the New York region," according to the NY Times. It's believed that Murray was a part of the group, and when feds received a tip about him moving "high-power lights"—the sort that are used for grow houses—into a U-Haul, investigators moved in. From the Daily News:
Murray was sitting in the U-Haul truck when cops approached him and asked what he was doing, the complaint states.
The firefighter claimed he was just making a U-turn in the driveway, but cops knocked on the door of the house and a tenant told them Murray had been moving items out of the basement, which reeked of marijuana.
The cops followed the strong smell of pot wafting from the basement and found the plants growing in an unlocked room. The off-duty firefighter was also carrying keys to three doors in the house.
The street value of the marijuana plants found was $500,000. Murray, who didn't enter a plea, was released on $250,000 bail and faces between 5 and 40 years in prison if convicted. He has been suspended from his position at Engine 292 as well. second firefighter may be charged as well.