Milford Police have busted a sizable marijuana grow site, located on a hillside in a remote area off Haven Street, after an investigation that began last week when an officer stopped a man on an ATV at the police firing range.
The marijuana plants, being grown near Echo Lake, were located Friday by a National Guard helicopter in just 20 minutes.
The 11 mature plants ranged in height from 5 to 6 feet and netted some 11 pounds of the buds, which would produce a high-quality marijuana worth at least $25,000, said Milford Patrol Officer Robert Pavia.
The investigation began Wednesday afternoon, when Pavia stopped a 57-year-old man on an ATV, who was reportedly trespassing near the Milford Police outdoor firing range. The man acted nervous and agitated when Pavia got near a cooler on the back of the ATV, according to the officer's report.
After calling for backup, Pavia said he opened the cooler because he felt, based on the man's actions, "he may have something in the cooler that could cause harm to me." Inside, Pavia said he found several bags of marijuana and hashish, according to his report.
Pavia arrested Donald C. Temple, Jr., 57, of 11 MacArthur RD., Ashland, on misdemeanor charges of trespass with a motor vehicle, possession of a Class D drug and possession to distribute a Class D drug.
The investigation then turned to Temple's home in Ashland. Ashland and Milford police on Wednesday night, using a search warrant, recovered eight marijuana plants in his back yard, as well as $15,000 in cash, according to the report. The decision to get a search warrant was fueled when Ashland Police arrived at the house, and could see several marijuana plant growing "in plain view," according to Pavia's report.
At the Ashland home, police recovered about $20,000 in plant materials, as well as drug paraphernalia. In the house, Pavia said, police found several motorcycle batteries that were on chargers, which led police to believe that some kind of outdoor grow operation was involved, one that would involve generators for water pumps or lighting.
Milford Police, who had been searching for the man's pickup truck, located it on Haven Street, near the area of the power lines. An officer interviewed some neighbors, who said the man had been coming back and forth to the street about once a day for some time, then entering the undeveloped area with an ATV for several hours. The pickup, a Ford F-250, was seized.
Police by that point had contacted the U.S. National Guard, which has a "cannabis eradication" unit. On Friday morning, a helicopter swept over the woods and rocky areas between Route 85 and Haven Street, and located the marijuana site within 20 minutes, Pavia said.
The site yielded 11 mature marijuana plants, and was located just over the line into Hopkinton, a few hundred yards into the woods from Haven Street, and a few hundred yards from Echo Lake.
Milford Police are continuing to investigate, Pavia said, and additional charges are expected to be filed that will reflect the extent of the marijuana seized from the area off Haven Street.