Man denies growing pot in Mount Holly
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | August 04,2014
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A second man who police said was running an indoor marijuana growing operation in Mount Holly in April 2013 has been found, arrested and arraigned.
Montana Manship, 21, was brought to the courthouse in White River Junction recently where he pleaded innocent to a felony count of marijuana cultivation and an accompanying misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana. Manship was released after he signed a $5,000 unsecured appearance bond.
Owen Hyjek, 20, recently pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana which resulted in a two-year deferred sentence.
Going forward both cases will be prosecuted at the courthouse in Rutland where the charges were originally filed.
Vermont State Police Trooper Jonathan McNulty said the bust, which eventually netted 40 marijuana plants growing in pots and parts of another 60 plants that had been harvested and were in various stages of processing, began when a landlord and a handyman dropped by a property on Shunpike Road in Mount Holly to see if they could change a water filter.
McNulty said after knocking without an answer, the landlord pulled open an unlocked door and yelled to see if anyone was inside and in so doing noticed that a lot of bright lights appeared to be on “unnecessarily,” some glaring from behind closet doors, even though it appeared no one was home. As the men made their way around the home flipping off lights they found several of them couldn’t be turned off and then noticed they were over rows of marijuana plants.
The men backed out and called police and McNulty and several other troopers arrived with Mount Holly Constable Paul Faenza and a search warrant a few hours later and seized the plants, smoking bongs and pipes, along with grow lights, a hydroponic tent, watering devices and numerous jugs of growth formula.
The police determined that two bedrooms in the rented home were being lived in by Manship and Hyjek.
Manship, who has no previous criminal record, faces a maximum potential penalty of up to three and a half years in jail if he were to be convicted of both charges now pending against him.