Three alleged hemp thieves were recently caught in the act of stealing nearly $3,000 worth of the crop in Massachusetts.
According to the Greenfield Recorder, Jesus A. Gonzalez, 31, of Springfield, Mass.; Reynaldo D. Figueroa, 32, of Springfield, Mass., and Luis A. Colon, 31, of Rutland, Vt., recently pleaded not guilty in Greenfield District Court and were released on personal recognizance. All incurred multiple charges, including larceny (theft) and receiving stolen property over $1,200.
The Greenfield Recorder reports a local police officer was on patrol in southern Deerfield near hemp fields, which are “particularly vulnerable and have been the targets of recent crop thefts.”
The officer noticed two cars parked nearby, and after some time, he pursued one of the vehicles and made a traffic stop when he observed the vehicle speeding and crossing a double yellow line.
The three men in the vehicle were wearing all black, and the officer smelled a “strong odor of marijuana,” the Greenfield Recorder reports.
The officer searched the vehicle and found what he estimated was 30 to 40 pounds of hemp in brown leaf bags, along with a pair of garden shears and a machete. All three men denied knowing about the hemp.
To assist at the scene, the officer called a drug recognition expert, who collected the men's shoes as evidence. The officers found the footprints on weed matting at Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Mass., matched the suspects’ shoes.
The three men are scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing on Jan. 7.