LITTLE COMPTON — A 50-year-old Little Compton man, and a 51-year-old Massachusetts man have been arrested on felony charges involving marijuana cultivation and distribution in Little Compton.
Chief Sidney Wordell of the Little Compton Police Department and Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety made the joint announcement Wednesday.
The arrests followed a two-month investigation into multiple marijuana growing and distribution operations by Little Compton police, working in conjunction with members of the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence Unit.
The Little Compton suspect has been identified as William Maney, of 1 High Meadow Road, Little Compton.
The police announcement described how the investigation proceeded.
Mr. Maney was cultivating marijuana from his residence, police said, and possessed a marijuana care giver card. Information was developed that led investigators to believe that Mr. Maney was operating outside the scope of the care giver allowances and selling to individuals without a medical marijuana license.
Members of the state intelligence unit were able to infiltrate Mr. Maney’s operation, and an undercover state police detective was able to effectuate three (3) separate hand-to-hand transactions for marijuana.
As a result, an affidavit and arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Maney for three counts of delivery of marijuana to a police officer. Additionally, a search warrant was obtained for his Little Compton residence.
On September 5, 2103, the undercover detective from the intelligence unit made a fourth hand-to-hand purchase from Mr. Maney, who was subsequently arrested in the Town of Tiverton.
The search warrant of Mr. Maney’s High Meadow Road residence was then executed, and resulted in the seizure of the following: 35 marijuana plants (32 inside the residence and 3 in the back yard); approximately 640 grams (25 ounces) of loose marijuana, prepared for sale; and $10,600 in cash.
Mr. Maney was charged about 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5 with four counts of delivery of marijuana to a police officer, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, and cultivation of marijuana. He was later arraigned at the State Police Wickford Barracks before Justice of the Peace Healey and released on $10,000 surety bail.
Members of the investigative team continued to pursue the second residence, 56 Long Highway in Little Compton, which is located in close proximity to Mr. Maney’s dwelling. The ensuing investigation determined that no one was living at the house, however police said activity was observed on a daily basis during the daytime hours.
On Sept.17, 2013, members of the police investigative team executed a search warrant at 56 Long Highway, which resulted in the arrest of Mr. Cornacchia.
Police said that the search revealed that the entire house had been set up and arranged for the marijuana growing operation. The only furniture present in the interior of the dwelling was one couch and a kitchen table. Multiple rooms on all three floors were dedicated exclusively for the various stages of the marijuana cultivation and operational process.
The operation was in the process of being dismantled. Numerous plants had been hastily cut down and were packaged for salvage and preparation. Dozens of trash bags were full and scattered about, containing leaves, stems and items used in the growing cultivation process.
The announcement identified the following items as seized in the search: 32 marijuana plants, 22 root stems from harvested plants, and approximately 100 pounds of organic marijuana that was cut down and in the manufacturing stage process.
Mr. Cornacchia was charged about 8 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 17 with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and maintaining a narcotics nuisance. He was arraigned the same day in 2nd Division District Court before Associate Judge Colleen M. Hastings. Police said he was being held on $30,000 surety bail on the charges.
Police said the investigation is ongoing with additional arrests expected. The “successful disruption of the two operations was the result of interagency cooperation between the Rhode Island State Police Intelligence Unit and the Little Compton Police Department,” said the joint police announcement.