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Marijuana Found In Burning Home; Owner Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge

Herb Fellow

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A Sugar Grove Township man pleaded guilty this week to a drug charge filed after firefighters putting out a chimney fire found marijuana in the man's basement.

Paul R. Anderson, 43, of 401 Leech Road, was charged by Hempfield Township police with manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered under the Controlled Substance Act, use or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Anderson pleaded guilty Thursday to the paraphernalia charge at a preliminary hearing before District Judge William L. Fagley, Greenville.

The other charges were withdrawn and he was ordered to pay $1,248 in fines and court costs and sentenced to 1 year of state probation.

According to the police affidavit:

Mercer County 911 called Hempfield police at 1:55 a.m. Jan. 23 to assist with a fire at Anderson's two-story home. Jeff Jackson, chief of Hempfield Township Volunteer Fire Department, told police that while conducting a safety search of the basement, he and other firefighters found a room with several plants believed to be marijuana.

Anderson was sitting in a fire truck and police read him his rights and asked if he had anything in the basement that they should be aware of.

Anderson said he was growing a few marijuana plants for himself and he agreed to show police where they were. Anderson led police to a small, hidden room in the north end of the basement that had pots, black plastic on the walls, three grow lights, a space heater and several small plants in clear vases.

Anderson agreed to allow police to search the rest of the home because there was nothing else they should be aware of. Police found a plastic shopping bag filled with loose marijuana in the living room.

Anderson said he was on probation. Police contacted probation officials, who advised them to detain Anderson.

According to Herald files, Anderson was sentenced in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas in March 2006 to 24 months' probation for possession of marijuana.

Source: The Herald, Sharon, PA
Copyright: 2008, The Herald
Contact: Monica Pryts, Herald Staff Writer
Website: The Herald, Sharon, Pa. - Marijuana found in burning home; owner pleads guilty to drug charge
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