HOULTON, Maine — A Houlton man who allegedly had 29 marijuana plants growing in the basement of his mother’s house was arrested and charged with trafficking on Monday evening after she turned him in.
Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin said Tuesday that officers responded to the home at 10 State Street after the woman complained about the marijuana growing operation. She told police she found plastic bags filled with marijuana in a black duffel bag that was being stored inside an unused dog kennel in her basement. Asselin said the woman contacted her son and informed him that she was calling the police. The son, Philip Salb, 24, apparently returned to the residence and removed the duffel bag before police arrived, Asselin said.
However, Officers Stewart Kennedy and Richard York discovered what appeared to be a marijuana growing operation in the basement. The officers located 29 small marijuana plants in a container, a growing light, plant pots with potting soil in them, several small plastic bags and a timer.
Kennedy contacted Salb by phone later that evening and Salb told him that he was growing the marijuana in order to raise money for his mother’s property taxes. Salb allegedly admitted to having the black duffel bag but indicated that only his clothes were in it. Kennedy asked Salb to come into the police department so that he could show the officer that the only items he had in the black duffel bag were his clothes. Salb came to the police department, but Asselin said that the clothing in the bag was for a person much larger than Salb. Officers also detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the bag.
Salb was arrested and charged with unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs before being taken to the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton. He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 18, 2012.
Later that evening, Stewart and Kennedy located the missing bags of marijuana hidden in a black garbage bag in the backyard of a Park Street residence. Salb had reportedly asked the Park Street resident to hide the marijuana for him and the individual placed the marijuana in the black garbage bag. The person has been charged but the name and charge were not immediately available on Tuesday.
Asselin said that the weight of the marijuana exceeded two pounds.