Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

Bureau of Narcotics, Game Commission arrest Luzerne County man for allegedly growing 170 marijuana plants on State Game Lands

HARRISBURG - The Office of Attorney General and the Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced the arrest of Thomas Dalton, 47, 14 Airy St., Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, for allegedly growing 170 marijuana plants in Dennison Township.

On Sept. 6, 2013, a Game Commission officer observed Dalton unlawfully driving through State Game Lands #187 and upon following the tracks of the vehicle Dalton was driving, discovered the plants growing at the site that were mature and between 10- and 12-feet tall.

"These plants, which were being cultivated on state-owned land, had the potential to put hundreds of pounds of marijuana on the streets, with an estimated value of at least $200,000," said Attorney General Kane. "My office will continue to work with other state agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes against the citizens of the Commonwealth. Together, we will hold accountable any individual who attempts to break the law."

A search of the vehicle revealed a 125-gallon plastic water tank, electric water pump and other items consistent with the cultivation of marijuana.  A sample of the plants tested positive for THC, a chemical compound found in marijuana. 

Dalton is charged with one count of the manufacture of a controlled substance, one count of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count of possession of a controlled substance. He also is charged with several violations of the Game and Wildlife Code, including: unlawfully traveling on State Game Lands by means of a motorized vehicle; possessing a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, using game lands for commercial purpose, and other charges.

Dalton was preliminarily arraigned today before Magisterial District Judge Gerald L. Feissner and released on his own recognizance. Dalton waived his preliminary hearing.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane thanked the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Wildlife Conservation Officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Northeast Region, the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office, the Luzerne County Drug Task Force, and the Pennsylvania State Police for their assistance with the investigation.

With hunting season fast approaching, more Pennsylvanians will be venturing into state game lands, noted Attorney General Kane. Suspicious activity should be reported to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania State Police.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)