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Hilltown Archives The Altamont Enterprise, December 15, 2011
BERNE A third marijuana grow house in as many weeks has been located in rural Albany County.
Investigators found the operation last Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 289 North Road in Berne. According to a release from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, the building housed 89 plants, and was being rented to Andrew Writer of Colonie.
“I almost want to attribute it to the economy,” Acting Sheriff Craig Apple said of the recent series of grow houses discovered locally. “It’s easy cash, and minimal investment, and people also feel a little safe with marijuana, because they know some people really don’t think it’s a big deal. We always target our crack, methamphetamine, but we target marijuana just as aggressively. Drugs are drugs, and we want them off the streets.”
Three weeks ago, about 500 pot plants were discovered at 161 Beaver Dam Rd. in New Scotland near the Berne town line. Two weeks ago, a building with about 100 plants was investigated in Knox at the corner of routes 85 and 11 after the sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip.
Last week, Andrew Writer, 27, of Colonie, was not present at the time the sheriff’s office acquired a warrant to search his residence.
Writer eventually turned himself in with his attorney on Thursday, Dec. 8. He was arraigned by New York State Supreme Court Judge Joseph C. Teresi, and was released on $15,000 bail.
He has been charged with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, and unlawfully growing cannabis without a license, a misdemeanor.
On the same day that Writer turned himself in, investigators arrested Kimberly A. Sim, 43, of Albany, on an unrelated marijuana sale. Sim is the mother of Writer’s girlfriend, police said.
“They had apparently gotten a tip several weeks ago that this Kimberly Sim was selling marijuana,” Apple said. “So, someone came to us, said they could buy it from her, and they did in fact buy from her. At that point, that case kind of got pushed back. As they’re doing a pedigree on all the information on these people, we get a cross-reference on Sim and Writer; we got them both at the same time.”
Apple did not know whether or not Sim was selling for Writer.
Sim has been charged with fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, a misdemeanor.