Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

September 25, 2018

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Indoor marijuana grow op dismantled and two men arrested

OTSEGO COUNTY, N.Y. - Special Agent in Charge James Hunt, New York Division, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., and Otsego County District Attorney John announce the arrest of two Otsego County men after a joint narcotics investigation on Sept. 25, 2018.

“DEA works closely with our state and local law enforcement partners to safeguard our towns from public threats like indoor marijuana grows," said DEA Special James Hunt. "These are ticking time bombs full of hazardous materials that produce illegal substances.”

"I am extremely proud of the hard work exhibited in this investigation. Working together, deputies and special agents of the DEA used their extraordinary skills to undertake a complex investigation," said Sheriff Devlin. "This joint effort and cooperation was pinnacle in reaching a safe and successful conclusion."

The investigation of a clandestine indoor marijuana grow in Otsego County has ended with the seizure of processed marijuana and plants, and the arrest to two men. A joint investigation conducted by the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA led to the arrest of Christian Balmaceda and Joseph Ali. Investigative leads steered law enforcement to search residents located in the towns of Morris and New Lisbon, where elaborate indoor grow operations were located at both locations. Investigators located a sophisticated and substantial grow and cultivation operation, with over a hundred marijuana plants in various stages of maturation. The plants were being grown using sophisticated ventilation, lighting, and water systems. Also found during the search were various seeds, growing media, staged fertilizer, controlled substance and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. 

Tactical support and assistance during the operation was provided by the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services helped assist with hazard mitigation.

Balmaceda and Ali were arraigned in the Town of New Lisbon Court. Both were remanded to the Otsego County Jail. Balmaceda was remanded on $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond and Ali was remanded on $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond. Both are scheduled to appear in the Town of New Lisbon Court on Friday, September 28th, 2018 at 3:00 pm.

Christian Balmaceda, Age: 47 years old, Morris, NY. 
-One Count: Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the 1st Degree – Class C Felony
-One Count: Unlawful Growing of Cannabis – Class A Misdemeanor
-Three Counts: Endangering the Welfare of a Child – Class A Misdemeanor

Joseph D. Ali, Age: 49 years old, New Lisbon, NY. 
-One Count: Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the 2nd Degree – Class D Felony
-One Count: Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd Degree – Class D Felony
-One Count: Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree – Class A Misdemeanor
-One Count: Unlawfully Growing of Cannabis – Class A Misdemeanor



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