A two-month long investigation led Little Compton police and State Police to discover two marijuana-growing operations in Little Compton.
Both operations have connections to the the state's medical marijuana program, according to Little Compton Police Chief Sidney Wordell.
“The first thing that comes to mind is that both of these investigation have ties to the medical marijuana law,” Chief Wordell said. “On both of these cases, they (the suspects) were clearly outside of the law.”
The two-month long investigation led police to medical marijuana caregiver William Maney, 50, of 1 High Meadow Road, Little Compton.
According to police, Maney operated outside the scope of the caregiver allowances and sold to individuals without a medical marijuana license.
Maney was recently arrested in Tiverton after allegedly delivering marijuana to an undercover State Police detective for a fourth time.
After issuing a search warrant, police also discovered the following in Maney's Little Compton home on High Meadow Road: 35 marijuana plants, including 32 plants inside the home and three in the backyard; 25 ounces of marijuana; and $10,600 in cash.
He was charged with delivery of marijuana to a police officer, four counts; possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver; and cultivation of marijuana.
He was arraigned at the State Police Wickford Barracks and later released on $10,000 surety bail.
The investigation also led police to a second Little Compton residence, 56 Long Highway, a home not far from Maney's residence. Police found no one was living at the house; however, police observed activity at the home during the day.
Police, who search the home on Sept. 17, found the house had been set up and arranged for a marijuana-growing operation.
Officers found scarce furniture in the home, only a couch and a kitchen table. Multiple rooms on all three floors were dedicated exclusively for the various stages of the marijuana cultivation and operational process.
According to police, numerous plants had been hastily cut down and were packaged for salvage and preparation.
Dozens of trash bags were full and scattered about, containing leaves, stems and items used in the growing cultivation process. The following items were also found: 32 marijuana plants, 22 root stems from harvested plants, and 100 pounds of organic marijuana, which was cut down and in the manufacturing stage process.
Police also arrested Matthew Cornacchia, 51, of 160 County Lane, Leominster, MA. Cornacchia was charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and maintaining a narcotics nuisance.
Cornacchia was arraigned in Second Division District Court and held on $30,000 surety bail.
This investigation is ongoing with additional arrests expected, according to police. The discovery of the two operations was the result of interagency cooperation between the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence Unit and the Little Compton Police Department.
According to Wordell, this case demonstrates how law enforcement need more access to medical marijuana records under the law to perform investigations.
“The medical marijuana law has so many things that need to be rectified. Law enforcement officials need records. Under HIPAA laws, we can't access who has cards and who doesn't. We can't even get access.”
What do you think? Should law enforcement agencies have access to medical marijuana records to conduct investigations? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.