Tip leads to pot charges against Cornettsville man

Amelia Holliday — Staff Reporter

September 5, 2013

CORNETTSVILLE — A Cornettsville man is in custody after deputies with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office responded to a tip on Thursday that marijuana was being grown at his residence.

Russell Hamilton, 31, was arrested at 56 Bull Creek Road Thursday afternoon where deputies said they found four mature marijuana plants.

Arresting officer Deputy Jerry Burns said upon arrival at the residence, deputies found the plants in buckets behind the camper that Hamilton was living in with his father. Hamilton’s father was not home at the time.

“Above subject (Hamilton) gave consent to search camper. Deputies found Miracle Grow, marijuana seeds, straw with (white) residue, and a plastic bag of marijuana,” Burns wrote in the arrest citation.

Burns said the plants had only recently been put in buckets, based on what Hamilton told deputies.

“They had these planted somewhere else and had put them in buckets behind their camper. He (Hamilton) said he was afraid someone was going to steal his marijuana,” Burns said.

Burns said the sheriff’s office has found a high number of plants this year thanks to tips and calls from concerned citizens.

“We’ve got roughly 300 plants this year so far. That don’t seem a lot, I mean KSP will fly over and get 300 in one time, but for us to get that much, just what we do by tips and calls and stuff like that and not having ATVs, no air traffic, nothing like that,” he said.

With the sheriff’s office having been so fiscally strained this year, Burns said it plans to apply for federal grant moneys through marijuana eradication, so tips and calls are even more important for the office in cases like this.

“Most of the majority of what we’ve found have been at people’s houses that people’s called about,” he said. “There’s plenty out there, it’s just hard for us to get back in the woods and get it unless we get tips and calls.”

Burns said this is the time of year when plants can be more easily spotted because of its maturity and height, so citizens should be on the lookout and should call the sheriff’s office with any concerns of complaints.

“This time of year is usually when they’re trying to harvest it, and it’s getting close to time for them to be done with it, cold weather’s coming in and everything,” Burns said.

Hamilton has been charged with one count cultivating in marijuana less than five plants, possession of marijuana, and buying or possessing drug paraphernalia. Though these charges are misdemeanors, Burns said Hamilton is a flight risk because he has consistently ran from officers in past cases and is therefore being held at the Kentucky River Regional Jail.