Sunday, October 26, 2008





Gardening sends man to jail
Didn’t think private ‘pot’ garden was illegal
Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

PAYNE SPRINGS–A Payne Springs man was arrested and taken to jail Tuesday, but not before he helped the officer bag up about three pounds of drying marijuana plants.
Lone on-duty police officer Shane Renberg first glimpsed growing plants in the man’s backyard while responding to a suspicious situation involving a school-aged boy who was had been entering and exiting the man’s backyard of a house at 120 Whispering Oaks Trail Monday. The house occupant was away at the time. The boy had no business being there, Renberg said.
The plants were exposed from a recent grass cutting, and Renberg made a point to visit the residence the following day.
Renberg had received several complaints previous to Monday on the address in connection with the growth of marijuana, but each time no plant evidence remained, he added.
But not so on Tuesday. Renberg came by for a “knock and talk” early Tuesday morning. Kelly McGilvray, 43, was in the backyard, which made it easier for Shane to strike up a conversation with him about the plants.
“What are these?” Renberg asked, pointing to plant cages supporting recently trimmed and harvested marijuana plants. McGilvray denied knowing anything about the plants, until Renberg pressed him further.
“It’s mine for personal use,” he admitted. Renberg was not fooled. “You don’t need that many plants for personal use,” Renberg told The Monitor.
A threat of a forced search was enough to gain admission into the house, where many more plants were seen draped over tables and chairs to aid in drying them out, Renberg reported.
“You know you’re going to jail, and I have to take all this with me,” Renberg told him.
“Well, I guess I better help you, then,” McGilvray answered.
Working together, it took Renberg about an hour and half to bag up all the plant materials, process the scene and handcuff McGilvray.
Renberg estimated once finished drying, the confiscated plants weigh all together around three or four pounds.
McGilvray was charged with possession of marijuana more than four ounces and less than five pounds, Renberg said.
The state felony charge earns a $10,000 fine and up to two years in prison.

Pot, cash, guns seized
Monitor Staff Reports
FORNEY–The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office and Forney Police Department made three arrests Tuesday and confiscated more than 40 pounds of marijuana, cash and pistols, breaking up a major marijuana trafficking ring operating throughout north Texas.
Narcotics investigators from both agencies have been aggressively investigating with extensive surveillance of several persons involved.
After many man hours and round-the-clock efforts, investigators initiated a traffic stop in the 500 block of north Farm-to-Market 458 in Forney on two vehicles.
During the vehicle search, investigators found about 30 pounds of marijuana in the gray 2008 Dodge pickup driven by David Johnson, 23, of Rockwall, who was taken into custody and charged with two felony counts, including Organized Criminal Activity, a second-degree felony. He is being held on a $120,000 bond. He was also charged with possession of marijuana greater than five pounds and less than 50, a third degree felony charge.
Shortly afterwards, investigators executed a search warrant at 2019 Wildwood in the unincorporated area of north- west Kaufman County.
There officers found another 10 pounds of marijuana, 100 pills of hydrocodone, a half ounce of cocaine and a money counter.
In addition, authorities seized $3,000 in cash, two pistols and three cars.
Mellisa Koffel, 28, of Garland and Brandon Lemmons, 24, of Kaufman County were also charged in the case. They are being held on $100,000 bonds.
“I am proud of the joint efforts made by the Forney Police Department and the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office,” Forney police chief Barnes said. Together we are letting the public know that we will not tolerate this kind of criminal activity in our community.”

Tri-County Ford
‘makes a difference’ with new EUV

Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–As a “Make a Difference Day” project, Tri-County Ford in Mabank presented the city with a new Electric Utility Vehicle Tuesday.
The Electric Utility Vehicle (EUV) will be used by city employees to read water meters.
City services supervisor Ronnie Tuttle estimated the EUV will save between $400 and $500 a month in gasoline.
Made by Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles in Winnsboro, S.C., the EUV looks like a muscled-up golf cart, but it’s street legal, and equipped with headlights, turn signals, rear-view mirror and seat belts.
“I found it,” Tri-County Ford owner Joe Pickens said. “I looked at it to see how well-built they were.
“This is built from the ground up,” he added. “It’s not a converted golf cart.”
Featuring a large steel-mesh carrying bin on the back and a smaller bin on the front, the EUV runs between 30 and 50 miles on a single charge – enough to cover most of the city – and plugs into a standard outlet to recharge.
Its dry-cell battery technology includes an on-board charger, Pickens said, and is much more environmentally friendly than standard lead-acid batteries.
“The batteries have zero memory, so you don’t have to fully discharge, like a cell phone,” he said. “No noise, no fumes, no fuel.”
As a licensed low-speed vehicle, the EUV (which tops out at 25 mph) will be able to use any city street that has a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less, Tuttle said.
“They used to keep the truck running while they read meters, but now we have them getting out of the truck and walking,” Tuttle said. “It can go everywhere but the country club.”
Technically, it probably could make it out to the Cedar Creek Country Club by staying on the U.S. Highway 175 shoulder, but under federal rules, Low Speed Vehicles can cross, but not travel on, roads with posted speed limits of 45 mph or higher.
“We probably fill up twice a week in town, so it will probably save us about $100 a week, or about $400 to $500 a month,” Tuttle said.
City administrator Louann Confer said the city always needs to save money.
“We can use as much money as we can save every month in every department,” she said. “We’ve been doing this with a golf cart, but this is a just a better option for reading meters.”
The city’s existing golf cart probably will be moved over to the Loon Bay subdivision to read meters there, Confer said.
“We will try to use it in areas of the system where the meters are close together,” she said. “Since we started using the golf cart, we’ve had a lot of people come in saying the city is thinking ahead by trying to save money and the environment.”
Pickens declined to say how much the EUV cost, other than “they’re economical.”
According to the company’s website, Ruff & Tuff Electric Vehicles offer a full range of purpose-built vehicles for sport, farming or work, with operating ranges from 30 to 70 miles.

Copyright © 2008, MediaOne, L.L.C.