On Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 the Pinal County Sheriff’s Narcotic Task Force executed a narcotics search warrant in the 40000 block of E. Ballesta Rd, in the unincorporated area of Saddlebrook, after receiving information that Stephen Cartwright was selling high grade Hydroponic Marijuana from his residence. The tipster reported Stephen had a massive high grade marijuana growing operation and was looking to sell high grade marijuana he already had packaged for sale.
After serving the search warrant it was discovered Stephen had a highly sophisticated Marijuana growing operation which included 97 hydroponic and soiled based marijuana plants. Detectives also located 64.2 pounds of packaged marijuana ready for sale, dangerous drugs (psychedelic mushrooms) and drug paraphernalia.
The 97 marijuana plants were in various stages of growth. An average six foot tall plant can produce approx. one pound of usable marijuana. These plants have a street value of $2,000 dollars each. The high grade hydroponic marijuana has a street value of $2,000 dollars a pound. A total of $194,000 dollars worth of marijuana plants, $128,400 dollars worth of packaged marijuana and $1760 dollars of cash were confiscated.
Stephen was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Jail in Florence, and faces charges of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Cultivation of Marijuana, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Arizona voters passed the law which allows individuals with a doctor’s approval to purchase or grow marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Stephen Cartwright used his medical marijuana card to grow marijuana and then sell it for profit. Stephen is not the first individual we have arrested using their medical marijuana card to conduct illegal marijuana offenses. This case shows how difficult enforcement has become with medical marijuana.”