Woman denies pot cultivation
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | April 18,2013
MOUNT HOLLY — A landlord checking a water filter told police he found dozens of marijuana plants at a house he rents out.
Barbara A. Hyjek, 43, who police said also goes by the last name Raclow, pleaded innocent Wednesday in Rutland criminal court to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession and a felony charge of cultivation.
If convicted, the Mount Holly resident could face a maximum of 3˝ years in jail and $10,500 in fines. She was held for lack of $5,000 bail.
Police said Hyjek rented a house on Shunpike Road in Mount Holly from John Puro, who arrived there with a handyman Sunday after calling to tell her they would stop by to look at the water filter.
They entered through an unlocked door after knocking and getting no response, after which Puro said he began turning off lights he noticed were “on unnecessarily,” according to police.
One light was in a closed closet, he said, and when an external switch didn’t turn it off, Puro opened it and found 30 or more marijuana plants beneath “a very bright light.”
Puro told police he could recognize marijuana, having had occasion to seize plants during his time in the military. He said he found another 30 or more plants upstairs.
Police said they searched the house while nobody was there, finding plants that had been harvested and were drying, potted plants, parts of plants being cultivated, processed marijuana and smoking paraphernalia.
Hyjek told police her son and his friend used the house, according to affidavits, but police said Hyjek’s boyfriend, who denied knowing about the marijuana, described her using parts of the house where marijuana was found.
Police said the marijuana found at the house came to 40 plants, three suspected plants, 60 pieces of suspected plants and 76 grams of processed marijuana.