Former PC basketball player faces felony marijuana charges
01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 18, 2011
By W. Zachary Malinowski PROJO
There has to be more to this story……plant counts? 3 felony counts for being a 1/2 oz over personal medicine limits? but hes a caregiver…86.1 grams is in his limit? Confused. -UA
PROVIDENCE — Corey Wright, a former captain of the Providence College basketball team, was charged on Tuesday with three felony drug charges for allegedly running a large-scale marijuana-growing operation from two apartment buildings that he owns in the city.
Providence police, armed with warrants, searched three of Wright’s properties at 184-186 Allston St., 25 Hazael St., and 67 Alaska St. The police seized 85 grams of marijuana and $35,000 in cash from the Hazael Street address where Wright lived on the first floor.
The apartment house is located between Douglas Avenue and Admiral Street.
At his arraignment Tuesday in District Court, Providence, Scott A. Lutes, Wright’s defense lawyer, argued that his client should be released on bail because he is a patient in the state’s medical-marijuana program. Under state law, a patient is allowed to have up to 2½ ounces of marijuana, or approximately 72 grams of the drug, in his or her possession.
The police said that they seized a total of 86.1 grams.
Inspector Jay Andrews, a police prosecutor, argued that Wright was running a significant “grow operation,” and should be held without bail. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, manufacturing marijuana and conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.
Lutes countered that Wright, 37, is not a flight risk. He said that Wright is a property owner in the city and has a degree from Providence College. He also pointed out that he has a license to use and grow marijuana.
“It may very well turn out that he did nothing wrong,” Lutes said.
Judge Colleen Hastings sided with the police and ordered Wright held without bail, pending a hearing on May 27.
Wright, who grew up in New York City, was a tri-captain for the Friars in the late ’90s. The undersized guard, who is only 5-foot-7 inches tall, was a tenacious defender and fearless competitor.
After college, Wright remained in Rhode Island and worked at the state Training School as a juvenile program worker.
Kevin Aucoin, acting director of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, said that Wright was hired on Aug. 1, 1999, and went out on a workers’ compensation leave of absence on April 15, 2009. He said that the agency will review his arrest and job status.
“We are clearly going to be looking into it,” he said. “Once we get our information, we will assess what options we will pursue.”
The police conducted surveillance on Wright in the weeks leading to his arrest on Monday at his apartment house on Hazael Street off River Road in the city’s Valley neighborhood.
At that address, investigators reported, they found three bags of marijuana in a downstairs closet, $35,000 in cash locked in a cabinet, a digital scale and plastic bags with receipts.
The police also seized Wright’s BMW sedan that was parked in the driveway. At the police station, investigators discovered that Wright had $2,780 in his possession.
Afterward, they executed a second search warrant at the Allston Street apartment house. There, they allegedly found a large marijuana-cultivation operation that included an intricate grow system with fertilizer, timers, wiring, tools and water-filled buckets. On the kitchen wall was a laminated copy of Wright’s medical-marijuana card as well as the card of a patient that he supplies with marijuana.
The police say that Wright also has a caregiver’s license.
Under state law, a patient can grow up to 12 plants, while a licensed caregiver can grow up to 24 plants for a maximum of five patients.
In a second-floor apartment, the police said they found more equipment used to grow, spin and dry harvested marijuana.
The police also executed a third search warrant at another Wright apartment house at 67 Alaska St., but they did not find any evidence of marijuana cultivation or other illegal activity.
Upon completion of the searches, the police contacted the city’s Code Enforcement Department to inspect the Allston Street apartment house for “substandard and potentially dangerous wiring.”