EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 7, 2014

Police raid two Peabody homes, seize 499 pot plants, guns

PEABODY — Inside the apartment at 112 Margin St., there was marijuana literally hanging from a chandelier — dozens of buds drying on a fixture that hung from the ceiling, Peabody police said. In the basement, police found 160 marijuana plants and three cakes of hashish.

There was also a cache of guns and explosives, turned up during a raid on that apartment Monday. And at a home at 132 Winona St., also in Peabody, police found another 333 pot plants.

And both homes reeked of fresh marijuana, police said. One of the men arrested even conceded, “It’s hard to miss,” when asked about the odor, according to police.

Three men are now facing charges of cultivating marijuana, possessing both marijuana and hashish with intent to distribute, and conspiracy charges as a result of the raids on both locations, which were the result of a joint investigation by Peabody police, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Police believe the nearly 500 marijuana plants that were seized had a potential street value of $500,000.

The target of the investigation, John Damico, 35, of 112 Margin St., Apt. 1, was ordered held on $75,000 bail; his brother, Joseph Damico, 44, of 37 Elaine Ave., Peabody, who also lives at 112 Margin St., was ordered held on $100,000 bail, and Justin Damico, 21, a nephew who lives at 37 Elaine Ave., was held on $25,000, following their arraignments yesterday in Peabody District Court.

The investigation is continuing. In court papers, police identified a second target of the investigation as Robin Patel, the owner of the Winona Street property, and said in a press release that additional arrests are possible in the case.

Police, who were accompanied by some city employees, entered the home on Margin Street late Monday morning and immediately noticed not only the strong smell of marijuana but the high heat and humidity in the apartment, according to court papers.

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