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Wilkes-Barre man caught growing pot in state gamelands

October 02. 2013 2:56PM

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A Wilkes-Barre man faces charges for allegedly growing 170 marijuana plants on state game lands in Dennison Township.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, in conjunction with the state Office of Attorney General, today filed charges in the case against Thomas Dalton, 47, of Airy Street, is charged with one felony count of manufacture of a controlled substance, one felony count of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Dalton also is charged with violating the Game and Wildlife Code by unlawfully traveling by motorized vehicle on state game lands, possessing a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, using game lands for commercial purpose, and additional violations.

Charges were filed at the office of Magisterial District Judge Gerald Feissner in Freeland. Dalton was released without bail on his word he will appear in court Dec. 27.

The charges stem from an investigation by Wildlife Conservation Officer David Allen, of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Allen was patrolling State Game Lands 187 in Dennison Township on the afternoon of Sept. 6, when he observed Dalton operating a vehicle along a remote section of utility line that traverses the game lands. A search of the vehicle driven by Dalton revealed a 125-gallon plastic water tank, an electric water pump and other items consistent with the cultivation of marijuana.

Allen subsequently discovered vehicle tracks entering the woods perpendicular to the power line and followed the tracks to an open area, where he discovered 170 mature marijuana plants growing at the site.

Field tests on the plants were positive for THC, a chemical compound found in marijuana.

Dalton allegedly told Allen and agents with the attorney general’s office that he planted the marijuana at the game lands location earlier this year.

Wildlife conservation officers from the Game Commission’s Northeast Region were assisted in the investigation by narcotics agents from the state Office of Attorney General, the Pennsylvania State Police, and members of the Luzerne County Drug Task Force.

“Our conservation officers are extremely active in patrolling state game lands to detect criminal activity and any abuse of our natural resources,” said Game Commission Northeast Regional Director Daniel Figured. “The agency intends to prosecute individuals who commit these types of crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”

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