A St. Johnsville man was arrested with a backpack full of fresh marijuana after fleeing from officers Saturday, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputy Tom Crosier and St. Johnsville Police Officer Michael Greene responded to a tip that Mark B. Hickey was harvesting marijuana on private land, according to the sheriff’s office, and found the 49-year-old Hickey in a rural area off River Road in the town of Minden. When he saw them coming, however, the release said he ran.
“He was in territory he was familiar with, fully dressed in camouflage,” said sheriff’s Inv. Brad Schaffer, “so he was able to evade arrest.”
A K-9 unit was brought in but lost the scent, the sheriff’s office said, but Hickey’s car was left on the side of the road near the growing operation, and Schaffer said the tip referred to Hickey by name.
Just 30 minutes later, officers found Hickey two miles away, at his home on Center Street in St. Johnsville.
“He saw the police coming and had a backpack of marijuana. His first instinct was to run,” Schaffer said. “Maybe he had smoked too much weed.”
Hickey cooperated with police once they found him and reportedly admitted to having an illegal growing operation. He was charged with unlawful growing of cannabis and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.
Though the marijuana in his backpack weighed roughly one pound, the charges reflect only a misdemeanor-level seizure of over two ounces.
“A lot of that is water weight,” Schaffer said, adding that once the plants have dried, the charges will be adjusted, possibly reaching a class E felony.
Hickey’s patch was narrowly missed in the countywide aerial search that harvested more than 200 mature marijuana plants last month.
“We were right in that area,” he said. “We hit two spots just to the north and south.”
He added that Hickey’s operation was relatively sizable, but countywide searches are limited by their short access to National Guard helicopters.