EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 23, 2013

Pot plants valued at $100K seized from Methuen home

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — METHUEN — Bail was sent at $10,000 yesterday for a Methuen man who allegedly had a “large marijuana growing operation” in his 21 Renfrew St. home.

Federal drug agents seized 57 marijuana plants from Michael Warford’s home Friday. In Lawrence District Court yesterday, where the 30-year-old Warford was arraigned on marijuana possession charges, a prosecutor said the street value of the marijuana was roughly $100,000.

After the raid at his home and arrest Friday, Warford’s bail was set at $5,000 — which he posted. But prosecutor Kelleen Forlizzi asked Judge Mark Sullivan to increase the bail to $10,000 at Warford’s arraignment, pointing to the street value of the marijuana seized.

Warford reportedly lives in the Colonial-style home with his mother.

While Warford was cooperative with investigators Friday, Warford does have a prior criminal record and is currently on probation for a driving to endanger charge out of Lowell District Court, Forlizzi noted.

Sullivan said he was concerned about the amount of marijuana seized and agreed to increase Warford’s bail.

Around noon Friday, federal drug agents and state troopers raided Warford’s single-family home. Renfrew Street is a side street off Route 110/113 not far from the Interstate 495 overpass.

Dozens of marijuana plants along with hydration and heating systems were inside. Investigators also seized $1,500 cash, Forlizzi said.

Warford is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 27 for a pretrial hearing.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.