Sheriffs: Raid leads to 'marijuana growing house'

Left, Ralph Rowett, middle Jason Rowett, right Michael

Left, Ralph Rowett, middle Jason Rowett, right Michael Smith, arrested in a joint law enforcement operation in Yaphank that discovered a marijuana grow house. (June 25, 2013) Photo Credit: Suffolk County Sheriff

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A joint law enforcement raid of a Yaphank house led to the discovery of a marijuana growing operation, where investigators arrested three men and seized several pounds of packaged marijuana and about 130 marijuana plants, authorities said Tuesday.

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Office of Criminal Investigations Bureau, joined by U.S. marshals and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, executed the warrant at the house at 524 Horseblock Rd., near the intersection of Yaphank Avenue, sheriffs said.

"It was primarily being used as a marijuana growing house," sheriff chief of staff Michael Sharkey said Tuesday.

About 5.5 pounds of packaged marijuana were seized, with each pound worth about $8,000 on the street, he said. The plants, when dried to be sold, were expected to yield 10 to 20 pounds, he said.

Sharkey said the investigation of the house was "based on a lead from one of the deputy sheriffs."

At the time the search warrant was executed, three men were arrested and charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class C felony. Those men were identified as Michael Smith, 40, of Yaphank; Jason Rowett, 38, of Patchogue; and Ralph Rowett, 41, of Middle Village, Queens.

At arraignment Tuesday, bail was set at $375,000 bond or $125,000 cash for Ralph Rowett; at $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash for Smith; and $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash for Jason Rowett.

The names of their attorneys were not immediately available.

With Ellen Yan

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