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April 9, 10

NEWS / Gloucester County Couple Sentenced to State Prison for Growing Marijuana in Home Using Hydroponic Sy


TRENTON - Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a husband and wife from Deptford were sentenced to state prison today for growing marijuana plants indoors using hydroponic equipment and grow lights.

According to Director Taylor, Paul J. “Chip” Trace, 45, of Deptford, was sentenced to five years in state prison, including two years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. in Gloucester County. His wife, Charlotte P. Trace, 48, was sentenced to five years in prison, including 21 months of parole ineligibility. The Traces pleaded guilty on March 4 to maintaining or operating a marijuana production facility.

In pleading guilty, the couple admitted that they grew marijuana in their home. The couple formerly owned and operated Tasty Harvest Hydroponics in Deptford. Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants in water that contains dissolved nutrients, instead of in soil.

Also today, Judge Marshall sentenced Charlotte Trace’s mother, Miriam Andrew, 76, of Woodbury to three years of probation. Andrew pleaded guilty on March 4 to a second-degree charge of manufacturing marijuana. In pleading guilty, she admitted that she permitted her daughter to grow marijuana in her home.

Deputy Attorney General Daniel Bornstein prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and represented the state at the sentencing hearing.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Marijuana Eradication Squad. The State Police uncovered sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operations, which used equipment from the couple’s hydroponics store, in three separate homes: the Traces’ home, Andrew’s home, and the home of a Glassboro man. That man, Frank J. Harder III, 33, of Glassboro, a former employee in the hydroponics store, also pleaded guilty on March 4 to maintaining or operating a marijuana production facility. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to five years in prison, with 18 months of parole ineligibility.

When the State Police executed a search warrant at the Traces’ home on First Avenue on Nov. 20, 2008, they discovered two indoor growing areas containing high-tech marijuana cultivation equipment and 33 marijuana plants, along with a bag containing nearly a pound of marijuana.

The State Police also executed search warrants on Nov. 20, 2008 at the homes of Andrew and Harder. They found 16 marijuana plants growing in a hydroponic system in a second-floor bedroom of Andrew’s home on Edith Avenue in Woodbury, as well as a bag containing approximately one-quarter pound of marijuana.

At Harder’s home on North Main Street in Glassboro, they found an elaborate hydroponic cultivation system with 43 marijuana plants, 20 marijuana “clones” or cuttings, and bags containing a total of approximately 2 pounds of marijuana.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20100409a.html

 




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