LONDONDERRY — When police searched a Ridgemont Drive home for stolen merchandise last week, they found a lot more than they expected.
Officers, seeking items taken from a vendor at the Londonderry Flea Market, were surprised to find a major drug operation at 15 Ridgemont Drive, according to Londonderry police Detective Christopher Olson.
Police were looking for approximately $2,000 in stolen smoking pipes and other legal paraphernalia, he said, but they found thousands of dollars worth of weapons and drug manufacturing equipment in addition to marijuana, hashish and psychedelic mushrooms.
“When they went into the residence, it was pretty apparent something else was going on,” Olson said.
Ten police officers surrounded the home at about 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, briefly closing Ridgemont Drive to traffic for the public’s safety, he said.
A resident, 19-year-old Brandon Castiglione, was ordered from his father’s home during the investigation, Olson said. The father, 54-year-old Mark Castiglione, was not home, he said.
Police seized numerous semiautomatic weapons from the home, including assault rifles, according to a police affidavit.
Officers also found, but did not immediately confiscate, several bags of marijuana, glass pipes, plastic bags, glass pans containing a residue, razor blades, test tubes, butane cans and torches, the affidavit said.
Olson said it is one of the largest drug operations his department has investigated in years.
“This is one of the bigger ones we’ve had,” he said.
The home was also filled with the odor of marijuana, the affidavit said. Police halted their search for the stolen merchandise and received another warrant from Judge John Coughlin to search for drugs and related paraphernalia.
Police returned to seize the drugs, drug paraphernalia and various amounts of cash. Police found seven cans of butane fuel, a propane torch, two cans of Sterno, and two butane torches in the teenager’s bedroom, the affidavit said.