Pot stench wafts from Police Dept. into City Hall

Police Lt. Mark Newport said the plants were so pungent, their skunky aroma wafted down the hall from the locked makeshift evidence room, up an elevator shaft and into the City Hall building. Some people complained the aroma made them feel ill, he said.

January 25, 2017

PORTSMOUTH - A pungent pot odor permeated Portsmouth police headquarters, as well as the adjoining City Hall building, during the two weeks since police seized 51 marijuana plants from a Woodbury Avenue home, according to police officials.

The wafting pot aroma was discussed during Tuesday's Police Commission meeting when business manager Karen Sencal reported an ongoing "smell emanating from some of our evidence."

"Usually evidence (can be detected) in the Police Department, but it never makes it through City Hall," she said. "It brought up an issue that we have a ventilation problem with our evidence room."

The problem, Police Chief David Mara explained Wednesday, is 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 now stored in a room typically designated for storage of found bicycles. A sign on the door now warns the bike locker room is closed, "no entry allowed."

Police Lt. Mark Newport said the plants were so pungent, their skunky aroma wafted down the hall from the locked makeshift evidence room, up an elevator shaft and into the City Hall building. Some people complained the aroma made them feel ill, he said.

Police have since sealed off the locked door with plastic sheeting and duct tape in an effort to contain the odor. An air purifier was installed inside, also to reduce odor, Newport said.

The marijuana plants are being kept as evidence and some is being tested at the state police crime lab, according to police officials. When the related criminal case is adjudicated, the plants will be incinerated by a certified contractor, Newport said.

When the plants were initially seized, Newport said, the odor lingered in his police car for more than a week.

A pungent pot odor permeated Portsmouth police headquarters, as well as the adjoining City Hall building, during the two weeks since police seized 51 marijuana plants from a Woodbury Avenue home, according to police officials. The wafting pot aroma was discussed during Tuesday's Police Commission meeting when business manager Karen Sencal reported an ongoing "smell emanating from some of our evidence." "Usually evidence (can be detected) in the Police Department, but it never makes it through City Hall," she said. "It brought up an issue that we have a ventilation problem with our evidence room."The problem, Police Chief David Mara explained Wednesday, is 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 now stored in a room typically designated for storage of found bicycles. A sign on the door now warns the bike locker room is closed, "no entry allowed."Police Lt. Mark Newport said the plants were so pungent, their skunky aroma wafted down the hall from the locked makeshift evidence room, up an elevator shaft and into the City Hall building. Some people complained the aroma made them feel ill, he said.Police have since sealed off the locked door with plastic sheeting and duct tape in an effort to contain the odor. An air purifier was installed inside, also to reduce odor, Newport said.The marijuana plants are being kept as evidence and some is being tested at the state police crime lab, according to police officials. When the related criminal case is adjudicated, the plants will be incinerated by a certified contractor, Newport said. When the plants were initially seized, Newport said, the odor lingered in his police car for more than a week. More Video: Dover girls hoop beats Spaulding, 53-39

"It was strong," Mara said.

The chief said police headquarters were retrofitted into the former hospital and, "We use what we have." He said when he was chief of the Manchester Police Department and oversaw construction of a new police station, the evidence room was designed with a ventilation system.

"When circumstances come up, you deal with them and learn from it," he said.

Should city police officers uncover a large quantity of pungent pot plants in the future, he said, they'll know to keep the room tighter.

Sencal told the Police Commission Tuesday night that she'll be working with the Department of Public Works to see if staff can install a ventilation system in the existing storage room.

It was the odor of the pot plants that caught the attention of detective Michael Kotsonis, who tracked the source to a Woodbury Avenue basement, police said. Charged with unlawful manufacture of a controlled drug and possession of a controlled drug is Christian Lydon, 47, of 1156 Woodbury Ave.

Police say he had a "sophisticated indoor grow house" in the basement of his rented residence and the seized pot has a street value of $100,000. Free on $15,000 personal recognizance bail, Lydon is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 21 in the Portsmouth Circuit Court.

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Pot stench wafts from Police Dept. into City Hall - News - seacoastonline.com - Portsmouth, NH

PORTSMOUTH — A pungent pot odor permeated Portsmouth police headquarters, as well as the adjoining City Hall building, during the two weeks since police seized 51 marijuana plants from a Woodbury Avenue home, according to police officials. The wafting pot aroma was discussed during Tuesday's Police Commission meeting when business manager Karen Sencal reported an ongoing "smell emanating from some of our evidence." "Usually evidence (can be detected) in the Police
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