Zebulon man charged with growing marijuana at Gannon Avenue home

amoody@newsobserver.comOctober 21, 2013 

— Police on Oct. 11 arrested a local man after learning there was marijuana growing at his home on one of Zebulon’s main thoroughfares.

Paul Neal Pittman Jr., 55, of 221 W. Gannon Ave., faces felony charges of manufacturing marijuana, possession of marijuana and maintaining a place to keep or sell a controlled substance. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The arrest is the third related to the growing of marijuana in Zebulon in the last three months. Officers seized five plants in the Lindsey Point subdivision just south of downtown on June 27 and made an arrest July 9. Police arrested another local man Aug. 5 after being informed of eight marijuana plants growing in the back yard of his Pinewood Estates subdivision residence.

The two most recent growing operations were discovered with the help of the community.

“Two of the three arrests have come after anonymous tips that were verified by officers,” Zebulon Lt. Scott Finch said. “It is very good citizen cooperation with the police in reporting stuff they realize is not right, or is a crime or is suspicious.”

Pittman’s home, which Wake County real estate records show he purchased in 2003, faces Gannon Avenue, and its driveway access is on Sycamore Street on the back side of the residence. When officers responded to the tip and pulled into the driveway on Oct. 10, they found eight marijuana plants growing in cups in plain view.

Finch said Pittman then gave officers consent to search the inside of the residence, where they found two more growing stations. One was inoperable and the other consisted of about 35 small cups with seeds planted inside, but the seeds had yet to sprout.

Police seized all plants and other evidence that Thursday. The yield from the plants officers found growing outside and some that had already been cultivated from those plants was about 6.5 ounces.

In full production, Finch said, one plant could yield up to a pound of usable marijuana. Between the grown plants and the planting cups, there could have been more than 40 plants at the residence.

Because Pittman is a caretaker and was facing family medical issues at the time the plants were seized, police allowed Pittman to turn himself in the following morning.

“Because of his cooperation, we allowed him to prepare himself before we served him with the warrants,” Finch said.

Records show Pittman has no prior criminal history in North Carolina.

Moody: 919-829-4806

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