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Maspeth Marijuana Bust Is Pot Luck

Originally called to investigate a stolen motorcycle located behind a Maspeth home last Friday morning, June 29, 104th Precinct officers reportedly found a number of marijuana plants growing in the backyard and other drug-related items inside the residence, according to police.

Three people at the home on 63rd Street between Flushing and 57th avenues were taken into custody by police on related charges; they were identified by the NYPD as 25-yearold Matthew Barbera and 54-year-old Jeanne Green, both of 63rd Street; at 49-year-old Henry Schmitt of upstate Garrattsville.

Members of the 104th Precinct responded to the home at around 3 a.m. after receiving a call from a man who claimed that his motorcycle-which had been reported stolen just five days earlier-was located in the rear yard of the 63rd Street house.

Law enforcement sources said the motorcycle, which was located behind a locked gate, had distinguishing features matching the vehicle that had been previously reported stolen to police.

Upon their arrival at the home, it was reported, Police Officers Darren Mays and Richard Walsh met with the complaintant, then went to the 63rd Street home to investigate the situation. They were met at the door by Barbera, who-according to police- was evasive in answering questions and declined to let them in the house or in the yard.

Authorities said the officers then went to a neighbor’s home and, after being granted permission, gained access to that resident’s yard. Once they set foot in the yard, police noted, Officers Mays and Walsh noticed a strong odor of marijuana emanating from Barbera’s backyard.

Reportedly, the officers also performed a check of the license plates of the motorcycle, which confirmed that the vehicle was previously reported stolen.

Police said the officers secured the location while the 104th Precinct commenced an investigation into the presence of marijuana in the backyard. Officers Mays and Walsh reportedly secured the location while Lt. George Hellmer worked to secure a search warrant.

Sgt. Timothy Hinteman, field intelligence coordinator for the 104th Precinct, and Sgt. Harry Singh of the Conditions Team also assisted the officers in securing the location, under the direction of Lt. James Lombardi.

Once a search warrant was obtained, authorities said, police entered the rear yard of Barbera’s home and found numerous marijuana plants growing there. While searching the suspects’ residence, police noted, the officers also found assorted amounts of marijuana and cocaine as well as an air pistol, drug paraphernalia and a quantity of fireworks.

Police sources said that Barbera, Green and Schmitt were all arrested at the scene and charged variously with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of a weapon and dealing with fireworks. Barbera was additionally charged with the theft of the motorcycle found in the yard, it was reported.

The investigation is ongoing.

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