A Suffern man stopped for a traffic violation Monday in Sullivan County ended up being linked to a sophisticated indoor marijuana-growing operation after cops found a large quantity of pot in his vehicle, police said.
Jeffery L. Genser, 53, of 32 First St., was charged with first-degree marijuana possession, a felony, and unlawfully growing marijuana and driving while ability impaired by drugs, misdemeanors, Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty said in a statement.
Shortly before 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sullivan sheriff's Deputy Joseph Feola stopped Genser's pickup truck on Route 209 in the Town of Mamakating for a traffic violation. As Feola approached the truck, he smelled "the pungent odor of marijuana," Chaboty said, and arrested Genser on suspicion of DWAI, police said.
Feola then found five kitchen-sized garbage bags of freshly harvested marijuana, police said.
After a brief investigation, the sheriff's department Gang and Narcotics Unit obtained a search warrant for a residence in Phillipsport listed in the name of Genser's wife, Somjai Genser, police said. About 7 p.m., deputies arrived at the home and found what Chaboty called "a sophisticated growing operation complete with timer-controlled grow lights, bags of fertilizer and humidity-control equipment."
Deputies seized about 135 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, police said.
This arrest follows another raid Friday on a house directly across Route 209 from where Genser's truck was stopped, police said. In that raid, 69 plants were recovered.
"We do not believe the two are connected," Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff said in the statement. "(Genser) may have been spooked by news reports of Friday's arrest and decided to harvest his crop in a hurry."
This was the third grow house busted by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department in 30 days, police said.
Genser was arraigned Monday before Mamakating Town Justice Joel Welsh and sent to the Sullivan County jail without bail. He is due back in court Tuesday at 1 p.m. Information on his legal representation was not available Tuesday, and attempts to reach Somjai Genser were unsuccessful.