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On July 3, 2012, a search warrant was served on the residence of Howard Harty, a 70 year old white male of Ringold, by Drug Task Force Officer B.J. Hedgecock and Pushmataha County Sheriff Deputies John Arthur and Culver. When officers entered the residence no subjects were present in the residence.
Upon entry of the living room, officers found multiple jars of marijuana seeds, marijuana in plastic bags, personal papers of Howard Harty, marijuana laying out to dry and two firearms. In the bedroom they located marijuana laying all over the bed drying, a box of marijuana and a sack of marijuana stems.
In the backyard of the residence there was a high, wooden square fence that contained 64 large marijuana plants that had been watered. They also located another pile of marijuana leaves laying out to dry.
While officers were pulling the marijuana plants out of the ground, Howard Harty arrived at the residence. Drug Task Force Office of District 17, B.J. Hedgecock, made contact with Harty and advised him that he had a search warrant for his residence. Harty was read his Miranda warning. Harty was asked if he knew why the officers were there and he replied that he had a good idea. Harty was then asked if he wanted to talk about the marijuana plants and he replied that he didnâ€™t have anything to say.
Harty was placed under arrest. While Deputy Culver was placing Hartyâ€™s groceries into his residence, Harty stated that it really didnâ€™t matter since he was about to loose the place anyway.
DTF Officer Hedgecock searched Hartyâ€™s vehicle and found a plastic bag containing marijuana and a paper bag with marijuana in it underneath the driverâ€™s seat.
Deputy Arthur transported Harty to jail. When the other officers arrived at the jail, Deputy Arthur told them that Harty had talked all the way to the jail about how he was about to loose his place and that was why he was growing the marijuana.
All items were seized by DTF Officer Hedgecock and placed in the Drug Task Forceâ€™s evidence locker.
Harty is being charged with Cultivating a controlled substance, felony; Maintaining a place for keeping and or selling a controlled substance; and Possessing a controlled dangerous substance. If Harty receives the maximum sentence for these charges he will be looking at 8 years to life in prison and or a fine of up to $61,000.00.
Hartyâ€™s preliminary hearing has been set for August 1, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. His bond was set in the amount of $25,000.