Police seize marijuana crop, arrest Georgiaville man

Police seize marijuana crop, arrest Georgiaville man

This photo from the Smithfield Police shows marijuana plants growing in an apartment in the Georgiaville section of town.

SMITHFIELD - Police on Monday confiscated 238 marijuana plants growing in a second-floor apartment in the Georgiaville section, in what was the largest such seizure here in recent memory.

They arrested Eric Freitas, 43, owner of a four-unit apartment house at 1 Hill St., near Stillwater Road, and charged him with unlawful manufacture of marijuana and possession of between one and five kilos of marijuana, both felonies.

Police said Freitas told them he is the manager of the band Max Creek, which has been together more than 40 years and plays a variety of music ranging from rock to country to reggae.

Capt. Michael Rheaume said the marijuana plants, more than half of them mature, were growing in separate pots under specialized lighting and had probably been there at least since April.

According to Rheaume, Freitas lived alone in one of the apartments and the others were unoccupied, and no one else appeared involved in the case.

He said the plants had no connection to another growing operation, recently discontinued on Esmond Street, with links to a medical marijuana consulting office that municipal officials shut down in April because of zoning issues.

Rheaume said that confiscated along with the plants was 3.5 pounds of marijuana and growing lights.

He said the plants, which ranged up to 3 feet in height, and related equipment filled half of a 40-foot evidence trailer at the police station.

Rheaume said that Freitas was not formerly known to police.

He said officers went to the apartment about 3:30 p.m. Monday after receiving a tip, and that Freitas spoke to a lawyer and consented to a search.

The plants, which will be held for evidence and later burned, were growing in the apartment's living room and two bedrooms, Rheaume said, supported with lights, air conditioning and heaters, and timers.

He said previous seizures in town have never resulted in the confiscation of more than 100 plants.

According to Rheaume, the potential street value of marijuana eventually harvested from the confiscated plants would conservatively be $100,000.

Freitas was kept overnight in the police station lockup and was scheduled for arraignment in 6th District Court on Tuesday.