Thursday, September 13, 2007

Nine Months of Ankle Bracelet for Horticulturalist

The ordeal of city pot grower Joseph Guadagnoli is over. You’ll recall that May 8 after a 9-month investigation, Federal, County, and city task forces raided Guadagnoli’s home and garage in the 6400 block of Glenoak Avenue in Hamilton and claimed to find some $230,000 worth of wacky terbacky growing there. The investigation began when undercover state police officers witnessed Guadagnoli enter a store called “Maryland Hydroponics” in Laurel. Officers ran Guadagnoli's license plate and found that he lived in Baltimore City and had priors for possession of marijuana, and began observing his house and collecting his trash. A trash inspection found a pot stem in a vacuum cleaner bag. A warrant was obtained and a raid conducted on May 8.

Guadagnoli received a five-year sentence with all but 9 months suspended, which he is serving at home with an ankle bracelet. His wife was also charged and received Probation Before Judgment. In spite of the previous reports, sources say Guadagnoli actually had less than $20,000 worth of marijuana seized (about 3 pounds? What's the going rate for an ounce these days?).

20 comments:

ppatin said...

Great, how much money and effort was wasted prosecuting this victimless crime?

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I bet it's something that the prosecutors are high-fiving each other over...

"That'll teach those goofy, non-violent criminals that are endangering our pristine city!"

like I said before... Seattle.

Bill Mill said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what do you mean by "Seattle"?

(Agree w/ the rest of your comments, by the way.)

Anonymous said...

By that I mean "We all should leave this hellhole to the criminals and thugs and move to seattle until people here get a whiff of sense"...

Not that I'm bitter or anything!

TJ said...

Seattle is a great city. I love visiting friends there. But, just be prepared to pay twice as much for a house. Median home price is 400K.

The Cybrarian said...

meh, too rainy.

ppatin said...

I can deal with the rain. $400k homes, not so much.

Rob said...

For an ounce...Depends highly on quality. Most top quality herb around here comes from out of state, big indoor growhouses in NY, not locally. Very few top-notch indoor facilities around here that are able to produce high quality bud in mass. That bieng the case, not much of it makes it out on the open market.

Price? anywhere from 290-400 for an oz. Most likely for bud like this...$300 dollar range.

Rob said...

What story are you quoting for the reduction in amount of seized marijuana?

Can you throw a link to an updated story if you have it?

The Cybrarian said...

no link, this is from original source material.

The Cybrarian said...

... so more like four pounds then I guess.
I wonder if they weigh stems & roots & dirt?

Gor said...

"Great, how much money and effort was wasted prosecuting this victimless crime?"

Actually not much time or money was spent. My surprise was they caught someone who was involved in a "victimless crime" and wasn't involved in another crime that wasn't victimless at the same time. Go figure.

ppatin said...

"Actually not much time or money was spent."

Are you sure about that? A 9-month investigation can't be that cheap.

Rob said...

Well depending on what the market looks like at any given time, and how many buyers he has for his crop, or on the flip side if he is distributing his own crop. My guess, with only a few pounds he's doing the dealing, in which case the monetary value of plant shoots up because he is selling smaller quantities with higher profit margins.

You also can't figure out what kind of yield (how full the buds are..are they really leafy, etc) the guy was getting, or going to get from his plants. So like authorities love to throw out the $2000 amount for street value of one pot plant. Well, most people aren't sophisticated enough growers to even get that amount. Some can get as high as $4000 per plant.

My point -- The whole "street level value" of drugs is a load of shit. It's impossible to estimate it until a buyer finds a seller and completes the transaction. Authorities often overstate the value of a seizure as a means to say, "hey, look at the great job we are doing". Which of course is totally ironic, because it's the complete opposite. We want drugs to be as cheap as possible. Who wants more money to go into the pockets of criminals who traffic in drugs?

It's not a good thing when authorities are able to constrict the supply of a particular drug, because all that does is increase the value of the drug, making it more valuable to the criminals who kill over turf battles and so on. But of course this is the whole problem with prohibition and keeping drugs on the black market...

And yes, if they seize plants they weigh the entire plant, stems and all.

And I'm not sure if you guys here have been following the story here, but the cocaine market is just about non-existent on the east coast for the past 9 months, jacking up the price and supply of heroin most importantly; but just about every other "street" drug as well. It's a mess and I think one of the contributors to increased drug related violence in places like baltimore and philly. I think there has been a lot of shake up in the drug market as of late, which is never a good thing....

sorry for the rant


http://www.tothepeople.com

Gor said...

With this type of investigation, it not like a team of police officers spent 8 hours a day for 9 months doing nothing else except trying to catch this guy.

Its normally 1 or 2 officers spent a couple of hours a week doing the investigation, mostly in conjunction with other cases. Once they accumalated enough evidence a search warrant was issued. One day spent classify the evidence and the paperwork was sent to the state attonerys office.

From there the paperwork follows the rountine shuffling, along with other cases, which takes a couple (or more) weeks until a judge is seen.

When they say "a 9 months investigation", it really means that when the police first suspected something it was 9 months until a judge saw it. Not 9 months of man-hours.

I like "Law and Order" as much as the next guy, but rarely do police and prosecutors spend all their time on one case.

ppatin said...

I realize that it's not like multiple cops spent the whole nine months on this one investigation, but I still think the resources would have been better spent going after murderers, rapists or even car thieves. If people want to smoke a bit of ganj I really don't care.

Gor said...

Maybe so, but my earlier statement about the rarity of a criminal only committing just one crime is usually worth it. Remember, some of the most evil people are caught first for a traffic violation.

The Cybrarian said...

I didn't know that about the coke market, rob! It sounds like the Colombians made that big bust, I wonder if there's something larger something going on in South America that affects supply?

I'll have to check the BBC since few US sources seem to give more than an intermittent rat's patoot about any other part of the world.

But yeah, estimates of street value are not a good measure. Nothing is ever worth more than what someone will pay for it, and weed being a weed, surely quality can vary a great deal depending on the conditions it's grown in.

eric said...

By Gor's logic, we should start arresting people for jay-walking and search their houses. After all, if they are guilty of one crime they must be master criminals.
Ever wonder if it might not work in the opposite direction? That by making something relatively benign (e.g. growing and selling pot) illegal, you end up creating an escalating situation (e.g. this guy ripped me off in my business, lacking legal recourse I must now get a weapon to protect myself). Go figure.

Anonymous said...

this 9 month investigation is nothing more than an indivisual dropping a dime on them .then they checked his garbage and had enough for a warrent to search ,maybe 12hours of time no way someone as smart as him would be on the radar definly informed on this is how 90% of drug arrests go,they,law enforcement build these busts up so us tax payers think we are getting so much for our dollar this is the way dougnuts&coffee time is covered up.