EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 24, 2013

Daughter turned in pot-growing dad, police say

By Jill Harmacinski
jharmacinski@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE — A former Auburn, N.H., man dubbed in a media report as “America’s Dumbest Weed Grower” has now been charged with growing marijuana in his daughter’s Springfield Street apartment.

Kyle Thomas Berry, 40, was arrested earlier this year in Auburn after he allegedly posted 35 YouTube videos of himself growing marijuana. While out on $7,500 bail, Berry was staying with his daughter at her 22 Springfield St. basement apartment.

Monday evening, Celines Berry, 21, went to police and told them her father, who was staying with her for the past month, had become verbally abusive and she wanted him out.

“She also mentioned he grows marijuana in his room,” Officer Michael Navaria wrote in his report.

Officers went to the apartment and found Kyle Berry there in his room. After an argument broke out between father and daughter, police checked with the landlord who said Celines Berry and her boyfriend had rented the apartment. Celines Berry also told officers to look in her dad’s room and “see what he’s growing,” according to the report.

Police found 16 pot plants growing, along with heat lamps, lights and fans. Berry, who said he was disabled, told police his operation was legal as he has a “prescription.” However, detectives were called to the scene, and Berry was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana.

Seized were the 16 pot plants, a 49-inch high-intensity heat lamp, digital camera, iPhone, 13 assorted bottles of fertilizer, “Maximum Yield” magazine, a hydroponic and indoor garden magazine, other grow light equipment, an electronic timer, a handwritten “grow” calendar, machete, hatchet and hunting knife, according to an inventory taken by Detective Lt. Michael McCarthy.

McCarthy said when he entered Berry’s room, he immediately smelled “fresh marijuana.” The room contained a mattress on the floor, “what appeared to be a makeshift greenhouse” and 16 marijuana plants, he said.

When she was interviewed by detectives, Celines Berry told police about her father’s January arrest in New Hampshire and said he was out on bail. “It was very embarrassing for the family because it made national news,” she said. “He posted numerous videos of himself on YouTube showing how to grow marijuana in house.”

The greenhouse in Berry’s room was built using heavy gauge plastic tape from the ceiling with furring strips nailed to the ceiling. The marijuana plants were all in separate pots and the 49-inch high-intensity lamp hung over them. A series of tubes connected to a water jug was used to irrigate the plants, McCarthy wrote.

While they were in the apartment, Detective Alan Andrews Googled Kyle Berry on the Internet and found Berry’s “tutorial on how to manufacture marijuana at home,” McCarthy said.

Those videos reportedly led to Berry’s arrest in Auburn. The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Drug Task Force built their case around the YouTube videos, according to a published report.

In an interview with investigators there, Berry admitted to buying growing equipment from a Manchester, N.H., store as well as seeds from Britain, according to a Manchester Union Leader story.

A story on Jan. 10 about Berry’s arrest on The Daily Dot website carried the headline, “America’s Dumbest Weed Grower Arrested for How-To Video.”

Bail was set at $500 cash during Berry’s arraignment in Lawrence District Court. He’s scheduled to return to court on July 10 for a pre-trial conference.

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