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Accused pot grower: no cause for search of Gov. Island home

GILFORD – A local man who is charged with multiple counts of manufacturing drugs in a three-car garage he rented on Governor's Island has asked for all evidence to be suppressed because the warrant supporting the search omitted key information.

Corey LaPlante, 28, formerly of 47 Blueberry Hill Lane, has argued that of the two people who allegedly told members of the N.H. Drug Task Force that he was allegedly manufacturing marijuana, the observations of one of the them were not included in the affidavit supporting the search warrant.

"Had Mr. (name omitted)'s observations been included in the affidavit, a reasonable person would conclude there was no contraband in the home," wrote Attorney Mark Sisti.

"As a result," he continued, "any evidence taken as a result of the search warrant based upon the defective affidavit must be suppressed as a matter of law."

LaPlante and a woman who was also living in the house, Janelle Noftle, 24, are charged with manufacturing marijuana and hashish in the home. Police said they found about 100 marijuana plants, three to five pounds of hashish, about $30,000 in cash, and multiple fire arms in the house in a raid conducted there in October of 2013.

They also said there was a water filtration system, commercial grade fans, and a separate electrical box.

According to the motion filed last week in Belknap County Superior Court, the owner of the home visited the couple to assess repairs needed in order to sell the home.

The owner told police she saw six black fluorescent lights in the attic, an electrical panel with an unfamiliar device attached to it, and a lock on the attic door that had not been present during her previous visits.

Sisti said there is no allegation she actually observed any plants growing. She said the air had a "most pungent" smell.

The property owner was accompanied by (name omitted) but when he was interviewed by the police he said he smelled a chemical odor on the second story near the front bedroom. He told police his sense of smell wasn't that good.
Sisti said the when the man was given an "implicit invitation" to allege wrongdoing he didn't accept it. He also didn't report seeing any marijuana plants and that his only other recollection was that the house was very clean.

The argument posed by Sisti is that had the police included (name omitted)'s information in the affidavit, a judge wouldn't have had enough probable cause to grant the search warrant.

N.H. Assistant Attorney General James Vara countered by saying that the owner of the property was intimately familiar with it and said she knows what marijuana smells like. He also noted that she had procured electric bills for the house that varied from $700 to $1,100.

Vara said her knowledge of the house was far greater than the man who accompanied her.

He said the man who accompanied her admitted his sense of smell is bad. Vara said the man's recollection of a strong chemical spell could be the result of LaPlante and Noftle cleaning the house in anticipation of the owner's arrival.

LaPlante and Noftle are free after posting cash bail.

Oral arguments are scheduled for April 28.

 
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