Buffalo New York Police Officer Jorge Melendez Arrested, Fired, And Charged In Large Marijuana Grow Operation

June 3, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – Another Law Enforcement Officer is on the wrong side of the law.

Buffalo Police Officer Jorge Melendez of the D District is accused of running and maintaining a marijuana growing operation just blocks from the A District police station. He’s charged with conspiracy to manufacture more than 100 marijuana plants, maintaining a premises for manufacturing marijuana and manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants.

Jason Elardo faces the same charges.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says Melendez has been fired from the police department. He and Elardo are both in federal detention. Derenda says no other police officers were involved but there could further arrests of other individuals.

The federal charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, a fine of $4,000,000 or both.

Federal DEA agents say Melendez owns a warehouse on 2157 South Park Avenue in Buffalo where undercover surveillance cameras were installed as part of the investigation. The complant says Melendez and Elardo were seen tending to the marijuana plants. Agents describe the marijuana growing operation as a sophisticated hydroponic system with PVC piping, irrigation, humidifiers, and high intensity lights, and growth inducing chemicals and fertilizers.

Agents say Melendez was actually seen driving his marked Buffalo police car to the South Park location in March to briefly check the location.

Agents say another growing operation was located in a warehouse at 1372 Clinton Street. They say their investigation also turned up cutting, harvesting, and packaging equipment for sales of pot at a home at 76 West Woodside Avenue. There were raids at all three sites Thursday morning. Equipment, cash, vehicles, boats and motorcycles were seized. Agents say various weapons were also found at the homes of Melendez and Elardo. They also seized up to 1,000 marijuana plants from the three locations.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul says, “This operation was literally hiding in plain sight.” He went on to say, “Police officers are sworn to protect the public and uphold the law. It is particulary disturbing when an officer breaks the law he was sworn to uphold.”

Appeared Here


Veteran Honolulu Hawaii Police Officer Michael Steven Chu Arrested In Connection With Marijuana Indoor Grow Operation – Pound Of Pot Found In His Patrol Car

April 11, 2012

HONOLULU, HAWAII – A Honolulu police officer was arrested in connection with his role in a marijuana growing operation in Honolulu and Mililani Mauka, according to federal court documents.

Honolulu Police Officer Michael Steven Chu has been on the force for 13 years. He was scheduled to appear in federal court Wednesday.

Chu has been charged with conspiring to possess and distribute nearly 50 marijuana plants and one pound of processed marijuana.

Court documents show Chu and a woman, Athena Lee, were arrested after Drug Enforcement Administration agents found 20 marijuana plants, large amounts of cash, and paperwork last Friday at the Moana Pacific Towers on Kapiolani Boulevard.

Agents also found a pound of marijuana and money orders in Chu’s subsidized police car.

Chu and the woman happened to show up at the apartment during the search. Court documents show Chu was carrying a “plastic bag that contained nutrients and materials that are used in the indoor grow.”

The next day, agents found a marijuana growing operation at Chu’s home in Mililani Mauka.

Chu’s neighbors say they never suspected the police officer would be charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana.

“My jaw just dropped,” said Mililani Mauka resident Ellen Autele. “You never knew or would think that.”

“It was disheartening to hear that kind of thing happen to him,” said neighbor Wayne Autele. “It does put a black eye on all policemen. When you get one bad egg like this, it just taints everybody.”

Appeared Here