Newport Police Seize Nearly 200 Pot Plants Amidst Middletown "Wild Goose Chase"
Officers estimate the marijuana has a street value of $5,000. The suspect allegedly tried to lead police astray during the investigation, falsely claiming he had grown the plants on a hillside off Green End Avenue in Middletown.
Newport Police have arrested a 33-year-old local man after discovering 191 stalks of marijuana inside his apartment, after he also allegedly led police on a "wild goose chase" into Middletown, claiming during the course of investigation that he had grown the plants on a 30-foot hillside off Green End Avenue.
Police responded to the home of Jamare M. Wilkins, of 28 Gibbs Avenue Apt. 1, around 4:57 p.m. Wednesday after receiving a report from a woman who said she had walked by and seen someone climb into a first floor window. Officers arrived and secured the perimeter, then spoke with the complainant, who pointed out the window in question. Officers noted that it was still unlocked.
Police entered the common hallway of the apartment building and immediately smelled the pungent odor of marijuana. They knocked on the door of the first floor apartment several times, but received no answer. They then went to the second floor, where they questioned the residents there if they knew their neighbor or had heard anything suspicious. The three individuals denied knowing anything and said the neighbor was never home. Police noted that the individuals appeared nervous upon being questioned. They were told to remain in their apartment until further notice.
Police determined they had reasonable suspicion to think the suspect might still be in the apartment, so an officer climbed through the unlocked window and opened the front door. Upon entrance, officers immediately discovered multiple hanging marijuana plants in the living room, along with scales and a pipe. Officers also located an envelope with Wilkins' name on it.
Detectives and a sergeant from the Narcotics Unit responded to the scene, then returned upstairs to speak to the neighbors, who assured that no one had come upstairs prior to police arriving. Officers brought the complainant to the three individuals, but she said none matched the man she'd seen enter the window.
At this point, officers were notified that they needed a warrant to proceed with a further search of Wilkins' apartment. While waiting for the warrant to be written at the police station, another officer radioed in around 5:48 p.m. that Wilkins had come home.
Officers returned to the apartment and questioned Wilkins, who allowed them inside his apartment and admitted that he had 191 stalks there, which he claimed all came from one plant off Green Lane in Middletown.
Officers reached out to Middletown police, and they agreed to accompany Wilkins to the location in question. Police followed him to a parking lot off Green Lane, where they walked approximately 500 yards south along the sea shore. Wilkins pointed to a 30-foot hill where his one plant had allegedly been growing, but he said that he had removed it from the soil two weeks ago.
Because there was no evidence of a large plant there, officers determined Wilkins was sending them on a wild goose chase. They then took him to the station for booking.
The street value of the seized marijuana was estimated at around $5,000. Wilkins was charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance. He was arraigned this morning at the Newport County Courthouse - 2nd Division.