PLUMSTED – A marijuana growing operation in the Cream Ridge section of Plumsted recently went up in smoke when an early morning chimney fire led to the discovery of more than 120 cannabis plants and the arrest of two residents.
According to Plumsted Police Cpl. Jason Reilly, the incident occurred at 3 a.m. Jan. 4 when first responders were alerted to a house fire on Route 539.
Reilly said Sgt. Robert Pintye and Officer Ryan Nani evacuated two men from the home while firefighters worked to extinguish the fire.
Police identified the men as Sean Cannariato, 36, and William G. Adler, 32.
At one point during the response, Assistant Fire Marshal Ryan Dullea and Nani entered the home to search for other occupants or areas where the fire could have spread. What they found, Reilly said, was a marijuana growing operation in the garage containing 129 “high value” marijuana plants.
According to police, the plants were being grown underwater using hydroponic techniques which could yield up to a pound of drug-grade marijuana per plant.
Reilly said Dullea and Nani found evidence of a “DAB” production facility which uses highly flammable accelerants such as butane to produce a potent wax-like variant of cannabis also known as butane hash oil.
Detectives Brant Uricks and A.J. Mantz were contacted and secured a search warrant for the home from state Superior Court Judge Wendel Daniels.
Subsequent to the search, Nani went to question Cannariato and Adler about what he found in the home, but the two men had fled the immediate area, according to Reilly. The two men were eventually located in a nearby residential community and taken into custody by Plumsted detectives and representatives of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Group.
Police said a search of a vehicle used by the two men yielded a computer and $8,000 in suspected drug proceeds.
Cannariato and Adler were each charged with manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance and intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, among other offenses. Bail for for each man was set at $100,000 with no 10 percent option and they were placed in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River.