April 10, 2014
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Phone Number: (212) 337-3900
Over $800,000 Worth Of Illicit Drugs Seized And Marijuana Grow Op Dismantled
OTSEGO, N.Y. - Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. announce the arrest of John Thomas Laing, age 53, of 1608 Butternut Rd, Unadilla, NY. The announcement follows a joint two and a half month narcotics investigation conducted by the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation (CID) and the DEA Albany District Office with assistance from the DEA Northeast Aviation Resident Office and investigators from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and New York State Police Troop C Major Crimes Unit. Laing is known to the Sheriff’s Office CID because in 2004 he was arrested operating a large indoor marijuana grow in the Town of Oneonta. On April 8th Sheriff’s office investigators obtained a search warrant, signed by Town of Butternuts Judge Claudette Y. Newman, for Laing’s residence and property.
Yesterday morning, DEA special agents, DEA pilots, Sheriff’s Office deputies and investigators, NYS parole officers from the Utica office and investigators from the DCSO and NYSP executed the search warrant for his residence. Inside Laing’s residence the following items were seized: over ten pounds of marijuana, 95 marijuana plants, 54 cloned marijuana plants, and triple beam balance, approximately $10,000 in growing equipment and $3,102 in U.S. currency.
Laing was arrested by investigators and special agents for criminal possession of marijuana in the first degree, a class C felony, and unlawfully growing of cannabis by an unlicensed person, a misdemeanor under the NYS Public Health Law. Last evening, he was arraigned by Butternuts Judge Claudette Y. Newman and remanded to the Otsego County Correctional Facility on $10,000 bail returnable on April 15th at 6:00 p.m. in the Butternuts Town Court for his felony hearing. If convicted Laing faces up to five and a half years in state prison.
Steven R. Carpenter, age 36, of 451 Blower Rd, Guilford, NY was present at Laing’s residence during the execution of the search warrant and was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in the Town of Butternuts Court on April 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “We are making it very clear that law enforcement and our community will not tolerate any sort of illegal drug distribution ring in our neighborhoods. Laing did not learn his lesson the first time around and was arrested yesterday for the second time in ten years for the same crime. Through diligent police work, over $800,000 worth of marijuana destined for street sales by Laing’s criminal enterprise was seized.”
District Attorney John M. Muehl is prosecuting the cases.