EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 26, 2011

Sophisticated marijuana operation discovered in Salem

SALEM — There was no mistaking the strong smell of marijuana coming from the house at 54 Lawrence Road, according to Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.

When police responded to a domestic dispute there just before 9 p.m. Sunday, they found more than a family fight. They found marijuana — and lots of it.

It was in every stage in the process, Patten said, from seedlings to full-grown plants drying to marijuana packaged for sale.

"Judging by the amount of marijuana he had throughout the house — packaged, hanging up and being grown — it was a significant operation," he said.

Mark Iannazzo, 36, faces a felony charge of manufacture of a controlled drug and possession of a controlled drug. He was held in the county jail on $25,000 cash bail Sunday night, but his bail was reduced to $500 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance at his arraignment in Salem District Court yesterday, prosecutor Jason Grosky said.

Iannazzo made bail later yesterday.

When police responded to the domestic dispute call, they saw a bag of marijuana in plain view in the kitchen, Patten said. Iannazzo was taken into custody and a search warrant was obtained to check the rest of the house.

Police officers and detectives found a sophisticated marijuana growing operation in the basement, Patten said. It was a hydroponic system, which doesn't require soil, and included a professional-grade ventilation system, he said.

There was a grow house built within the basement, complete with lights and timers. Police found 20 to 25 pieces of equipment used in the growing operation, plant food and literature on how to cultivate marijuana.

There was marijuana in the refrigerator, in every room of the house, in Iannazzo's vehicle and on the back deck, Patten said.

"I can't remember the last significant growing operation. The entire basement had been converted," he said. "It was in his vehicle, every room in house, in every stage of growth — from seedlings to bagged. Without a doubt, it's clear to us he'd been doing this for a while."

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