WALPOLE (CBS) – A man is accused of turning a vacant Route 1 gas station into a “grow house” for pot, according to Walpole police.

Chief John Carmichael tweeted Tuesday that a search warrant allowed officers to find marijuana plants in the gas station.

“Mass. law allows an individual to cultivate 6 marijuana plants – in their own home,” he wrote. “It does not allow a vacant gas station on Rt#1 to be converted into a grow house for 50 plants as demonstrated following a Walpole police search warrant.”

An officer observed a man walking into an abandoned gas station carrying boxes Monday night.

“When that individual was confronted by police he ran inside of the building and kind of barricaded himself in, locked himself inside,” Chief Carmichael told WBZ Tuesday.

The officer followed him and he admitted to packaging the pot and selling it, according to police.

Police say someone was growing marijuana inside this vacant gas station on Route 1 in Walpole (WBZ-TV)

The suspect, 33-year-old John Diarbakerly Jr. from Winchester, admitted to being part owner of the company that managed the gas station. He appeared in court Tuesday on a charge of possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute, and was released on personal recognizance.

“He did make statements relative to, that he was growing it for other people,” Chief Carmichael said. “We also found evidence that it was likely that he was repackaging some of the product in operating marijuana dispensary containers and that kind of thing and likely selling that on the street.”

Court documents show that officers counted about 57 marijuana plants in the gas station. They found growing lights, irrigation equipment, empty medical marijuana containers and a large air filtration system.

Back in March, firefighters and police pulled nearly 200 marijuana plants from a Walpole home after a house fire.


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