Basement Marijuana-Growing Operation Nets Stafford Man 6 1/2 Years

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Stafford man pleaded guilty Tuesday to running a massive marijuana-growing operation in the basement of his Stafford home and was sentenced to prison.

Frederick Seagrave, 39, pleaded guilty to possession of more than a kilogram of marijuana with intent to sell, first-degree larceny by welfare fraud and filing a false tax return.

The guilty plea came as Seagrave’s trial was set to begin in Superior Court in Rockville.

Charges are still pending against Seagrave’s wife, Sarah Craddock, 34, and his father, Robert Seagrave Sr., 58.

When state police, statewide narcotics task force officers and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Seagrave’s home at 72 Gilbert Road on Oct. 16, 2014, they found a sophisticated growing operation in the basement. There were 508 marijuana plants, including 193 ready for harvest.

Authorities said the lights, fans and other equipment used to support the operation was valued at about $100,000.

A tipster alerted police to the operation and investigators learned that Seagrave and his father had prior convictions for selling drugs. DEA agents then obtained a federal subpoena for Connecticut Light & Power Co. records, which showed electrical consumption at the house was far higher than at comparable houses.

At the time of his arrest, Frederick Seagrave told police he had to sell at least a pound of his marijuana a month to pay his bills, which included a $3,000 mortgage payment. He told police he would sell a pound for about $4,000. Based on that, police estimated the value of the marijuana in the house at $800,000 to $1.5 million.

Seagrave reported no income on his tax forms, which led to the charge of filing a false tax return. His family also received state welfare benefits during the time he was running the drug operation, Tolland State’s Attorney Mathew C. Gedansky said Tuesday as Seagrave pleaded guilty.

A search warrant for Seagrave’s bank records turned up about $100,000 in deposits through ATMs although the state Department of Labor records showed no employment, Gedansky said.

Seagrave also faced charges of risk of injury to a minor because his three children were in the house and exposed to the drug operation. Those charges were not prosecuted as part of Seagrave’s plea agreement.

Seagrave was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison and four years of special parole. He also had to forfeit $85,000 in cash that police seized and five ATVs and a trailer to haul them.

When police searched the house, they had to wear masks and take frequent breaks outside the house because the odor was so strong.

Craddock, however, told police that she knew nothing of the grow operation, records show.

When police asked Craddock about the smell, she replied: “What smell?

“I don’t smell anything,” according to an arrest report.

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