Police arrested one man and seized $1.9 million worth of pot from an Olney home on Tuesday after officers sniffed out something funny during a Montgomery County car stop.
"On March 5, Cheltenham officers stopped a vehicle and as a result of that stop found approximately about a pound and a half of marijuana," Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Schadler said today at Philadelphia Police Forensic Science Center, where the air was thick with the hazy scent of weed from the bulging plastic trash bags laid on the table.
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"They were further able to develop information from that stop, taking notice of the driver, the way he was dressed, and the fact that there were signs that there may be additional marijuana or a grow operation based on the information provided by the officer that did the stop to his fellow officers in Cheltenham."
Schadler said police noticed the suspect had burn marks and dirt under his fingernails.
"They also noticed that the marijuana that was recovered in the car had stems on it – recently-potted marijuana – so they took that coupled together and actually traveled to the location."
The journey took investigators across county lines and into Philadelphia, according to Capt. Thomas Davidson of the Narcotics Unit. "The information led us to the 400 block of West Chew Avenue," he said. "As a result of that, we recovered 190 plants as well as 20 pounds that was prepackaged, for a value of $1.9 million."
Eugene Horsch, 31, the passenger in the initial car stop and the owner of the home in Olney, was taken into custody. Authorities believe Horsch was the main player in the pot ring despite the large quantity of the stuff recovered.
"We will continue to follow up any further information we receive," Schadler said. "But according to sources now, at this time, that is our main target."
Police said Horsch has four prior narcotic arrests. He was on probation until February of last year after pleading guilty to drug possession in Philadelphia and he was convicted of marijuana possession in Montgomery County last May, according to court documents.
Horsch is currently jailed at Montgomery County Prison awaiting processing.
Authorities said the investigation's outcome is a testament to cooperation between counties. "This case is an excellent example of Philadelphia and Montgomery County coming together to work what turned out to be a large-scale marijuana operation case," Schadler said.
"Officers worked from the 5th into the 6th to develop probable cause for a search warrant on the target residence and were able to execute that warrant and find the items that you see here, resulting in the significant removal of a large amount of marijuana and an individual who was trafficking that marijuana on the streets."