The owners of a family-owned plumbing business in Massachusetts are facing drug conspiracy charges after allegedly using their store as a front for a $6 million marijuana grow operation.
Thomas Laverty, 37, of Clinton, Chuck Laverty, 60, of Millbury, and Andrea Laverty, 61, of Millbury, are all facing one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Officials say Andrea, Charles and their son Thomas used Chuck Laverty & Son Inc. for the operation, using vehicles, bank accounts and locations for manufacturing and distribution.
Police executed two search warrants on Oct. 17. The first was at Thomas Laverty’s business warehouse in Clinton, where officers found the growing operation inside of an 8,000 sq. ft. single story warehouse attached to the single-family home.
Officers confiscated three motor vehicles, an undisclosed amount of money, and 1,029 marijuana plants weighing approximately 2,200 pounds and with a street value of over $6 million. Another grow operation was found at the Millbury home of Andrea and Chuck Laverty, where they run their plumbing business.
"I'm not sure how many were there," Chuck Laverty told NBC Boston in an exclusive interview. "Most of them were clones or seedlings."
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According to court paperwork, the plumbing business, while conducting some legitimate work, was actually a front for distributing the marijuana.
"As for the receipts we have, the invoices, the checks that went in the bank, it was 100 percent legit plumbing," said Laverty, who denied selling any pot.
Laverty says and he and his son have medical marijuana cards and use the pot for medical reasons.
He also says they were growing the marijuana mostly for study because the family would like to open a dispensary.
"We were researching strains at that point," said Laverty.
The Lavertys allegedly made significant cash deposits in accounts they owned. These cash deposits were then used to pay private school tuition and make payments on cars, according to authorities.
Thomas Laverty, who was arrested earlier this month, faces a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, a minimum of four years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000.
Chuck and Andrea Laverty, who were arraigned Tuesday, each face a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, a minimum of two years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. They were released for the time being, but their son remains behind bars.
Another suspect in the case, Sean Matt, 29, was arrested alongside Thomas Laverty.