NJ Cop Follows His Nose to Record Pot Bust

Smell of marijuana in chimney leads to arrest of six
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Suggested by easterner
Posted Mar 12, 2010 10:32 AM CST
Monroe Township Police patrol officer Tom Lucasiewicz, 23, describes how he the smell of marijuana smoke led him to a bust that authorities are calling the largest in state history, March 10, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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(Newser) – A 23-year-old patrol cop busted what authorities say is the biggest marijuana-growing operation in New Jersey history when he caught a whiff of marijuana smoke coming out of a chimney in an upscale Middlesex County community. At first Officer Thomas Lucasiewicz thought someone was smoking a joint nearby “but with his bloodhound senses, he realized it was much stronger,” said a state police spokesman. “He followed his nose. Then he saw smoke rising from a chimney.”

Lucasiewicz called in backup. They raided the house and found a man—“the gardener, essentially”—disposing of unusable plants in the fireplace. They realized they’d stumbled onto a huge growing operation. During the following week they raided five more houses that had also become pot factories, ultimately uncovering $10 million worth of marijuana. “These were not run-down homes,” said the police spokesman. “Several of them were worth in excess of $1 million.” Six people were arrested; three more remain at large.

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