LEWISTON — A Lewiston man was arrested Tuesday after police say they found 450 marijuana plants growing in the building where he lives.

John Katula, 39, is charged with aggravated cultivating of marijuana, a Class B felony, according to a news release by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Lewiston police were called to 16-18 Park St., the former Club Rendezvous, for a report of men fighting.

Inside the building, police found the mature, flowering marijuana plants, along with an extensive lighting and ventilation system. The growing operation occupied three of the building’s four floors and police found serious electrical issues involving the wiring of the growing equipment, according to the release.

The estimated street value of the marijuana is in excess of $100,000, police estimate.

Katula told police he is a licensed medical marijuana caregiver, but police say his registration card had expired in June 2013.

Katula, who was the only person living in the building, was taken to Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, where bail was set at $5,000.

Commander Scott Pelletier of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said agents are seeing an increase in licensed medical marijuana caregivers taking advantage of the demand for marijuana by growing and selling larger amounts of marijuana than they are authorized to grow. A caregiver is limited to growing for five patients and each patient can have only six marijuana plants.

The MDEA asked that anyone with information about the case contract the agency’s drug tip hotline at 800-452-6457.

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