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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Power bill leads Brentwood police to raid home of alleged pot cultivator

BRENTWOOD – State police used a variety of tips to assemble evidence against an East Kingston marijuana grower located across the street from the East Kingston Elementary School, the Union Leader of Manchester is reporting.

But it was his monthly power bill that gave investigators a key piece of evidence needed to raid the home, court documents show.

Details about the arrest of Paul Gifford, 47, of 46 South Road, became public after a judge unsealed a search warrant related to Gifford’s criminal case, which is now pending in Rockingham County Superior Court.

State police showed to a judge how Gifford’s home was using three times the average electrical consumption per billing cycle than its neighbors for several months, according to an affidavit by Steven Tarr, a detective in the narcotics and investigation unit.

“I know that high amounts of electricity are needed by indoor cannabis cultivators to power pumps, timers, heaters, air conditioners, fans and other electrical equipment as well as the 1000-watt lights necessary to grow cannabis,” Tarr wrote.

About $277,000 worth of marijuana was seized from Gifford’s home – roughly 77 plants in all – following his arrest on Feb. 15 along with marijuana growing equipment and $2,574 in cash, the documents say.

Gifford was charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute and manufacturing a controlled drug.

He remains free on bail, and his case has yet to go before a grand jury for possible indictment, court documents indicate.

A confidential informant first tipped state police in November that Gifford, who works as a landscaper, actually made growing marijuana his full-time occupation, the affidavit says.