WATERVILLE – Police get all sorts of odd calls, but nothing quite like the one they got Tuesday night.

A woman on Green Street reported seeing two men pushing what appeared to be a huge toolbox down the street, and it was making a lot of noise.

It turned out to be a large self-contained marijuana-growing unit, with lights, fans and a watering system inside, said Police Chief Joseph Massey.

“It’s the first time I can remember when we have seized such an elaborate, sophisticated, self-contained unit,” he said Wednesday.

Justin Leibowitz, 34, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Massey said police found marijuana residue in the box, which is 4½ feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall.

Police have seen sheds and garages converted into marijuana-growing operations with makeshift watering systems, but the metal box is unusual, Massey said. “This is very elaborate and high-tech; it has the ability to automatically turn on the watering and other systems by electronic means.”


After the Green Street resident called police at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, Sgt. Daniel Ames and another officer noticed tracks in the snow from the wheels of the metal unit. They also saw two men at 32 Green St., near a small shed, Massey said.

Ames recognized one of the men as Leibowitz and asked the two if they had seen anyone pushing a large box, Massey said.

“One of the individuals said, ‘Yeah, we were pushing a nursery — do you want to see it?’ He pushed the shed door open and Ames said in the middle of the shed was a very large white box,” Massey said.

He said one of the men was more than willing to tell Ames that it was a nursery for plants.

“He opened the door to show Ames, and there was nothing in it, although Ames could see on the bottom of the shelving what we call ‘shake’ — partial leaves and residue. He could smell a strong odor of marijuana.”

Ames charged Leibowitz and then police took the box to the police station, Massey said. Leibowitz is scheduled to appear in Waterville District Court on Feb. 8.


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