LOCKPORT – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit seeking to seize the home of a Hartland man who is under indictment on charges of growing marijuana.
About 21.5 pounds of pot was seized in a Nov. 3 police raid at the home of Andrew D. Fitch at 9276 Ridge Road. Fitch, 33, and his girlfriend, Annie Tiongco-Lopez, 32, pleaded not guilty April 26 in State Supreme Court to a Niagara County grand jury indictment charging them with first-degree criminal possession of marijuana. Fitch also was accused of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon for allegedly having an assault weapon when police raided his home at the time, on Quaker Road in Barker, in 2013.
The papers filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Friday say Fitch has been a target of a drug investigation since 2013. It accused him of accepting shipments of pot from California concealed in Shop-Vacs, as well as growing his own in the basement of the house. The papers say 88 plants were seized in the November raid, along with $70,932 in cash, mostly from a safe in the trunk of a 1966 Ford Thunderbird in the garage.