BUSTI - Three Busti residents have formally been charged after police seized more than 500 marijuana plants in a sophisticated growing operation last month.
A joint investigation by the Lakewood-Busti Police Department and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force resulted in charges against John A. Boardman, 31, and Jennifer A. Grundstrom, 29, both of 529 Busti-Sugar Grove Road, and Brad A. Strickland, 30, of 515 Busti-Sugar Grove Road.
Members of the drug task force, Lakewood-Busti police, Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and county SWAT team executed a simultaneous search warrant April 30. A large amount of marijuana plants and illegally possessed controlled substances were seized, police said.
John A. Boardman
Jennifer A. Grundstrom
Brad A. Strickland
"We were happy to make a bust of this size," said Sgt. Paul Gustafson, investigator for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department. "It was a joint effort, and it was rewarding to get these drugs off the streets and make the streets safer."
Boardman was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawfully growing cannabis. Bail was set at $30,000.
Grundstrom was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana. Strickland was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana and unlawfully growing cannabis. Bail for Strickland was set at $20,000.
All three subjects were arraigned in Busti Court on Friday. Boardman and Strickland were remanded to Chautauqua County Jail; Grundstrom was released on her own recognizance, a Busti Court clerk said.
A marijuana growing operation was shut down at 529 Busti-Sugar Grove Road in December 2011 after National Grid employees noted a meter at the residence had been bypassed. Lakewood-Busti police were notified of the theft of service.
Gustafson said calls made to area police tip lines were crucial in shutting down the grow operation for a second time.
"It was somewhat surprising to see that going on there again," he said. "But really it's something we have seen before. What is important is the tip line, which was really helpful in this situation. I can't say enough about it.
"If people see suspicious activity going on, they should call police."