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PORTSMOUTH — Police plan to upgrade charges to felonies against a city man accused of growing 51 marijuana plants in his basement, which were seized and stunk up the Police Department and adjacent City Hall.
Plans to upgrade charges against Christian Lydon, 47, of 1156 Woodbury Ave., are cited in a motion filed with the Portsmouth Circuit Court that seeks judicial approval to destroy pots and soil the marijuana was allegedly growing in. Portsmouth police prosecutor John Brown filed the "motion to destroy" with the court noting the pots and soil "have created storage problems for the Portsmouth Police Department."
"The pots and soil have no foreseeable evidentiary value," according to Brown's motion.
The prosecutor wrote to the court that because the charges will likely be adjudicated as felonies, which are prosecuted in the Rockingham County Superior Court, detectives contacted the county attorney's office about destroying the pots and soil. The county attorney's office is "in support of" the motion to allow city police to destroy them, the motion states.
If the court approves the motion to destroy, the pot plants "can be secured and in a more efficient manner," Brown's motion states.
The District Court file notes that the motion was to be forwarded to Lydon's lawyer, Raymond Mello. He has not yet responded and the court has not ruled on the motion.
According to court records, Lydon reported he's a "stay-at-home dad," has entered a plea of not guilty and waived arraignment. He was arrested for two misdemeanors in January when police said the odor of the pot plants caught the attention of detective Michael Kotsonis, who tracked the source to Lydon's basement.
Police say they found a "sophisticated indoor grow house" in Lydon's rented residence and that the seized pot had a street value of $100,000. Lydon is free on $15,000 personal recognizance bail.
Two weeks after the arrest, police said a pungent pot odor permeated Portsmouth police headquarters, as well as the adjoining City Hall building, from a storage area in the police station. The problem, Police Chief David Mara explained, was that the evidence room was never designed to be a police evidence room.
Located in the basement of what was once a hospital, the confiscated pot plants are stored in a room typically designated for storage of found bicycles, Mara said. After complaints about the odor, the area was sealed off with plastic sheeting and tape.