HILLSDALE — Nearly $250,000 worth of pot was discovered at a home in the town Tuesday in one of the biggest marijuana-growing operations in Columbia County history, according to police.
James Valentin, 49, of Hillsdale, was charged Tuesday with first-degree possession of marijuana, a class C felony; seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful growing of cannabis, both class A misdemeanors, according to a statement from state police.
Valentin was also charged with a violation of possession of a controlled substance in a nonoriginal container, according to police.
“This was probably the most elaborate and largest marijuana operation in my 16 years as a New York state trooper,” senior investigator Eric Barnes said Wednesday. “And it’s one of the largest ever uncovered in Columbia County, for sure.”
Dozens of marijuana plants were seized from the home on West End Road after a search warrant was executed, according to police.
A large quantity of prepared marijuana — marijuana that has been ground up or cooked for smoking or ingestion — was also found, Barnes said.
In all, the marijuana had an estimated street value in excess of $200,000, he said.
Additional suspects may be charged in the large-scale marijuana growing operation, Barnes said.
“The investigation is pending and additional charges and arrests could be possible,” he said.
Valentin was sent to Columbia County Jail on $5,000 bail.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.