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Woodside fireman grew pot in Queens Village home: U.S. attorney

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A Queens firefighter was arraigned on federal drug charges last week in connection with growing $500,000 worth of marijuana that was stored in a rented Queens Village home, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said.

Firefighter Patrick Murray faces between five and 40 years in prison if convicted on charges of manufacturing and possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, spokesman Robert Nardoza said.

Murray, 33, is a five−year veteran of the Fire Department with Engine 292 based in Woodside, according to an FDNY spokesman. He was suspended for 30 days following the charges.

Murray, was arraigned Feb. 25 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go and was released on $250,000 bond secured by his mother’s Elmont, L.I., home, Nardoza said.

The NYPD got a tip the day before his arrest that Murray was allegedly moving high−intensity discharge lights, devices typically used to help grow marijuana, out of a Queens Village home at 88−23 237th St., according to the criminal complaint filed against him.

Officers went to that address Feb. 24 and allegedly saw Murray sitting in the driver’s seat of a U−Haul truck parked in the driveway of the home, the complaint said.

Murray allegedly told the officers he was using the driveway to make a U−turn.

Officers knocked on the door of the home and one of the tenants living there allegedly told them Murray had access to the entire house and was moving things out of the basement that morning, the complaint said.

A strong odor of marijuana led officers to the basement, where they allegedly found an indoor hydroponic marijuana growing operation with about 100 marijuana plants with a street value of $500,000, according to the complaint.

Nardoza said the operation was not connected to a $100 million marijuana ring broken up by federal authorities last week.

Murray was then arrested and officers allegedly found keys in his possession that opened the door to the grow house and an exterior door leading to the operation.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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