BY JOE OLENICK
Niagara Gazette — An emergency call turned into a major drug bust Saturday in Wilson, leading to the seizure of 14 cannabis plants and at least 5 pounds of processed marijuana.
The Niagara County Sheriff's Office was told a child may have ingested an unknown pain medication at a Shadigee Road home Saturday. Deputy Jared Ander arrived just before 4 p.m. when he could reportedly smell marijuana coming from inside the residence.
So, the Sheriff's Office contacted the Niagara County Drug Task Force which found the marijuana plants. In fact, the search revealed a much more extensive set-up, said Capt. Scott Lombardo.
Three rooms used for growing the plants were located in the basement, one under the stairs and two divided by a false wall. The attic of the residence was used as a drying room, where the plants were dried out for smoking. Mason jars of marijuana were found under the suspect's bed.
"He had quite the operation," Lombardo said.
As a result, homeowner Lon C. Sherrie, 49, has been charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class D felony, unlawful growing of cannabis, a class A misdemeanor, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor and possession of controlled substances by ultimate users original container, which is a violation.
A 3-year-old child was present in the home when the deputy arrived. The mother of the child called the Niagara County Sheriff's Office when she found the child holding the medication bottle. Authorities determined the child did not ingest the medicine after all, Lombardo said.
Sherrie, who was not home when the emergency call was made, returned to the house after police and first responders arrived.
Sherrie was then taken to the Niagara County Jail on $2,500 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Wilson Court at a later date.
Lombardo said the investigation is continuing and further charges may be pending, especially once the seized marijuana dries out. When that happens, the total weight could be closer to 10 pounds, Lombardo said.
And that would upgrade the marijuana possession charge to a first-degree felony.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.