A Union Mills couple arrested in September after police found five marijuana plants -- 4 feet to 15 feet tall -- growing on their farm were convicted yesterday of drug charges.
Randy Scott Leidy, 32, pleaded guilty to manufacturing marijuana and his wife, Carole Jean Leidy, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. The guilty pleas were part of an agreement with the state.
Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III agreed to dismiss the six remaining charges against the couple, whose farm in the 3100 block of Littlestown Pike was raided on Sept. 23 on an informant's tip to the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force.
Circuit Court Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. accepted the agreement between the state and the Leidys and found the couple guilty of the reduced charges.
Stephen P. Bourexis, the Leidys' lawyer, told his clients that they could receive up to five years in jail and a $15,000 fine regardless of recommendations made by the state for more lenient sentences.
A state police pilot flew a helicopter over the Leidys' property on Sept. 22, where "he observed a marijuana plant next to one of nTC the outbuildings that appeared to be approximately 10 to 15 feet tall," Tfc. Robert Heuisler said in court documents.
"The amount found would not be for one person's use, but for distribution or sale," Mr. Walker said to explain the drug-manufacturing charges. "It could not be used by two or three people before the substance would rot."
Police obtained a search warrant and arrived at 11:30 a.m. the next day.
They found plants growing near the home and hanging upside down from rafters in the basement.
Officers also found pipes, two plastic bags containing drug residue, and loaded firearms -- five rifles or shotguns and two handguns -- in the home, according to court records.
Mr. Leidy, who worked for the Carroll County government, was arrested at his job, court documents said.
"Mr. Leidy told police that he was not a big dealer and that he worked for the county," Mr. Walker said in court.
Mr. Walker said Mr. Leidy also told police he had not gotten a raise in years and, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
Judge Burns ordered a presentence investigation for both people. Sentencing is set for May 11.