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The Execution of Two Search Warrants in Southern Rhode Island Results in the Arrest of Two People on Marijuana Distribution Charges

Contact: Major Todd Catlow Detective Commander 401-444-1005

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announces the arrest of two people on drug distribution charges by the State Police High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force with assistance from the State Police Hope Valley Barracks, the Hopkinton Police Department and the Charlestown Police Department.

Darren Higgs, age 48, of 47 Wiitala Dr, Charlestown, Rhode Island was arrested and charged with:
Possession of Marijuana in Excess of 5 Kilos,
Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, and;
Conspiracy to Violate the Controlled Substance Act

Jacqueline Pastore, age 36, of 47 Wiitala Dr, Charlestown, Rhode Island was arrested and charged with:
Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver, and;
Conspiracy to Violate the Controlled Substance Act.

The arrests are the result of an investigation that began when a Trooper at the Rhode Island State Police Hope Valley Barracks received information concerning suspicious activity occurring at a single family rental property located at 24 Paige Place, Hopkinton, Rhode Island. This information included suspicious activity occurring at unusual hours of the day, the belief that no one lived at the house, and a strong odor described as a "skunky smell" believed to be coming from the house. Task Force members learned that 24 Paige Place Hopkinton was rented to Darren Higgs who lived at 47 Wiitala Road, Charlestown and his mother who lives in Pennsylvania.

This morning the HIDTA Task Force with assistance from the State Police Hope Valley Barracks, the Hopkinton Police Department and the Charlestown Police Department executed court authorized search warrants for indoor marijuana growing operations at 24 Paige Place, Hopkinton and 47 Wiitala Road, Charlestown. The search warrants resulted in the seizure of:

Nineteen (19) pounds of packaged marijuana,
Ninety-four (94) mature marijuana plants,
Marijuana packaging equipment, and;
$3819.00 in United States currency

Both residences were equipped with sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operations.

The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act limits the amount of marijuana that a registered primary caregiver may possess to twenty-four (24) marijuana plants and five (5) ounces of usable marijuana.

Members of HIDTA Task Force have learned through experience that individuals involved in illegally cultivating marijuana often use multiple grow locations and multiple patient cards to give the appearance that they are in compliance with The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.

Active medical marijuana patient cards with the same patient numbers were located at both residences. The Rhode Island Department of Health will only respond to law enforcement inquires that provide a medical marijuana card number. The Department of Health will not provide law enforcement with any information concerning the name or address of the card holder.

Darren Higgs was arraigned at the Fourth Division District Court by the Honorable Associate Judge Pamela Woodcock-Pfeiffer and ordered held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institute pending a bail review at the District Court on March 12th, 2014.

Jacqueline Pastore was arraigned at the Fourth Division District Court by the Honorable Associate Judge Pamela Woodcock-Pfeiffer and ordered held on $10,000 surety bail at the Adult Correctional Institute until a bail review at the District Court on March 12th, 2014.

The HIDTA Task Force is managed by the Rhode Island State Police and comprised of members from Providence Police, Pawtucket Police, Johnston Police, Smithfield Police, Central Falls Police, North Providence Police, United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Rhode Island National Guard.

This investigation owes its success to the outstanding interagency cooperation amongst all its participants as well as the hard work and dedication of the task force members.

Related links

Department or agency: Rhode Island State Police

Online: http://www.risp.ri.gov

Release date: 03-04-2014

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