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Shooting Call Leads To Pot Bust

POSTED October 2, 2012 8:26 p.m.

Stanislaus County narcotic task force agents arrested two individuals for marijuana cultivation and gun charges in response to an Oakdale Police Department investigation into a shots fired call from the 2000 block of East F Street at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept 26.

Oakdale Police units initially responded to a call reporting three shots heard coming from the property where the unidentified caller also described the location as a “cannabis grow” site. When officers arrived, they spotted two individuals fleeing into an extended garage on the property. The officers contacted the subjects and located two rifles and a handgun near the entrance of the garage.

While at the property the officers noticed a patch of marijuana growing in a fenced off portion of the yard. A further search revealed marijuana plants drying in a separate room. Oakdale Police notified the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency to respond to the scene.

Arrested were Delbert Montgomery, 34, and Brian Eldridge, 29, both of Oakdale.

Montgomery was featured in a Sept. 19 Leader article about growing medicinal marijuana in Oakdale. The address where officers responded was the same property highlighted in the news story.

Oakdale Police Acting Sergeant Ben Savage stated 24 growing marijuana plants were uprooted by police from the fenced area and five other plants were recovered as evidence that were drying and being processed inside the residence. Another rifle was also inside a bedroom of the residence.

In the Sept 19 news article, Montgomery stated he consumed over two ounces of marijuana per day for injuries he sustained. He said he had a doctor’s prescription for the drug and was allowed to grow marijuana through Proposition 215 – the Compassionate Use Act that legalized marijuana in California for medicinal purposes.

At the time of the Leader’s interview with Montgomery, he had 55 plants growing on the property that was marked with notices from the “Medi-Cann Health Center” labeling the plot of land as a medicinal grow site.

“He had over 85 plants when we contacted him in August,” said Oakdale Police Detective Max Messina, who responded to the call after uniformed officers notified him. “We feel he’s using it for purposes other than just personal use.”

Police officials state that in addition to the harvested and drying marijuana and firearms, agents confiscated more than $1800 in cash at the residence.

“This wasn’t an illegal grow,” said Montgomery’s wife, Aftan Burris-Montgomery, 27, when contacted at the address. “They’ve (police) been out here numerous times.”

Burris-Montgomery said when she arrived home around 11 a.m. with her children, ages 5 and 8, she saw “a ton” of police cars and Montgomery handcuffed.

“They (police) trashed my house and tried to take my kids,” said Burris-Montgomery, pointing to overturned drawers and items scattered in her living room. “I had to provide a drug test to CPS. I don’t use marijuana at all.”

Burris-Montgomery said the money seized was rent money and not from drugs.

Stanislaus County Sheriff jail records show that Montgomery was booked into jail that evening for felony charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales, being armed in the commission of a felony, and being a convicted felon possessing a firearm.

Eldridge was booked on felony charges of for possession of marijuana for sales, being armed in the commission of a felony, and a probation violation.

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