Man admits to indoor ganja farm

A 25-year-old man from West­moor­ings has plead­ed guilty to hav­ing a small in­door mar­i­jua­na grow­ing op­er­a­tion at his home.

Elias Aboud, of Sun­down Road, Good­wood Park, plead­ed guilty to mar­i­jua­na cul­ti­va­tion as he ap­peared be­fore act­ing Deputy Chief Mag­is­trate Cher­ril-Anne An­toine in the Port-of-Spain Mag­is­trates’ Court, on Mon­day.

 

Aboud al­so plead­ed guilty to two mar­i­jua­na pos­ses­sion charges, two charges for pos­ses­sion of smok­ing ap­pa­ra­tus and one for pos­ses­sion of a taser.

While An­toine was ready to sen­tence Aboud af­ter ac­cept­ing his guilty pleas, his at­tor­ney Criston J Williams re­quest­ed a short ad­journ­ment to give him time to ob­tain char­ac­ter ref­er­ences and tes­ti­mo­ni­als that would be used in his mit­i­ga­tion plea. An­toine ad­journed the case to Ju­ly 19.

Short­ly af­ter Aboud’s court ap­pear­ance, his 26-year-old friend Alex Fran­co, of Vic­to­ria Gar­dens, Diego Mar­tin, ap­peared be­fore An­toine on two charges for mar­i­jua­na pos­ses­sion and pos­ses­sion of smok­ing ap­pa­ra­tus. Fran­co, a sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Fran­co Trad­ing and Dis­tri­b­u­tion, plead­ed not guilty to the charges.

Al­though An­toine did not men­tion the sta­tion bail Aboud had been grant­ed by a Jus­tice of a Peace af­ter he and Fran­co were ar­rest­ed on Sun­day, she stat­ed that the $30,000 sta­tion bail that Fran­co had been grant­ed was in­or­di­nate­ly low.

“The bail does not fit the se­ri­ous­ness of the al­le­ga­tions,” An­toine said as she even­tu­al­ly in­creased the bail to $120,000.

Fran­co’s lawyer Suneesh Singh plead­ed with An­toine to ad­journ the case and in­sti­tute the in­crease to­mor­row. He claimed that be­cause the vari­a­tion was giv­en around 2 pm, his moth­er, who was seat­ed in court, would not be able to ob­tain ap­proval and he would have to spend the night in re­mand.

Singh al­so asked An­toine to con­sid­er that Aboud plead­ed guilty to the charges ear­li­er in the day.

In re­sponse, po­lice pros­e­cu­tor In­sp Cal­ista Charles not­ed that Aboud and Fran­co were sep­a­rate­ly charged as they both al­leged­ly made claims to dif­fer­ent items that were al­leged­ly seized by po­lice.

While An­toine agreed that Fran­co could not make claims in re­la­tion to Aboud’s case, she still agreed to ad­journ the case to to­day, to fa­cil­i­tate the at­tor­ney’s re­quest.

Dur­ing Fran­co’s hear­ing, Charles sought to ten­der the items al­leged­ly seized in re­la­tion to him in­to ev­i­dence.

The items in­clud­ed sev­er­al jars con­tain­ing cured mar­i­jua­na, va­p­ing car­tridges with cannabis ex­tracts, a dig­i­tal scale, wrap­ping pa­per, three roll-on mar­i­jua­na cig­a­rettes and $8,177 in cash.

As po­lice pros­e­cu­tors opened the jars con­tain­ing the items, the pun­gent aro­ma of high-grade mar­i­jua­na quick­ly en­gulfed the small court­room and lin­gered for a while af­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, around 3 pm, Aboud and Fran­co were dri­ving along Vic­to­ria Av­enue, Diego Mar­tin when they were stopped in a road­block.

The of­fi­cers al­leged­ly found some il­le­gal items in the car, and lat­er ob­tained a search war­rant and ex­e­cut­ed it on Aboud’s home.

At that lo­ca­tion, po­lice found pot­ted mar­i­jua­na seedlings in a spe­cial­ly pre­pared room, more cured mar­i­jua­na and ad­di­tion­al smok­ing ap­pa­ra­tus. Aboud is al­so be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Raphael Mor­ton-Git­tens.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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