After a four-month long sting operation called “Operation Green Thumb,” the man believed to have cultivated a massive marijuana farm in Commack has been arrested.
Mark Kern, 54, of Kings Park was arrested Thursday evening and charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal trespass, and resisting arrest.
Over 100 plants, which were 7 to 10 feet in height, were seized from a water recharge basin in Commack at Motor Parkway and Red Leaf Lane.
Operation Green Thumb began back in May when two Smithtown highway workers discovered the plants and reported it to the Smithtown Public Safety Department. Smithtown Public Safety joined with the Suffolk County Police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct the operation to find the owner and growers of the pot farm.
Camouflaged surveillance cameras were hidden in the farm to track movement, and police found at least two subjects tending to the plants at night during the four month operation.
"It was well attended, terraced and notched out in the area that looked like a field you would see in Southeast Asia," said Public Safety Deputy Chief Kevin McPadden to Commack Patch.
According to Patch, Public Safety officers waited until the plants matured, and then wore camouflage gear to stake out the water recharge basin on Wednesday night. It was then that they encountered Kern entering the basin to tend to the plants with another individual. Kern was apprehended, but the other suspect fled on foot.
All marijuana plants were removed from the area Thursday morning, but McPadden says that Operation Green Thumb is ongoing, and more arrests are expected to be made.
The weight and street value of the plants has yet to be calculated.
Kern is scheduled to be arraigned on felony charges of criminal possession of marijuana in the third degree and two misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest on Thursday in Central Islip.
[Source: Commack Patch]