State Police Arrest Exeter Man on Narcotics and Firearm Charges to Include Cultivation of Marijuana

Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announces that on April 12, 2014, at approximately 10:10 p.m., members of the Wickford Barracks and Detective Bureau arrested Todd A. Byers , age 41, of 52 Mockingbird Drive, Exeter, Rhode Island on narcotics and firearm charges to include cultivation of Marijuana.

The investigation began yesterday after an investigator from the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) contacted the State Police requesting that Troopers accompany her to Mr. Byers’s residence for the purpose of conducting a well being check of Mr. Byers’s children, ages four and six. Mr. Byers granted the DCYF investigator and Troopers access into his residence, at which time they observed a quantity of Marijuana on the kitchen counter. Troopers also smelled the strong odor of Marijuana emanating inside the residence leading them to believe additional Marijuana was present. Mr. Byers presented Troopers with a Medical Marijuana Care Giver card that had been previously issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health, but had since expired. Mr. Byers also presented a Medical Marijuana Patient Card, although the quantity of marijuana observed in plain view by Troopers appeared to be well in excess of the maximum amount of 2.5 ounces of «usable» Marijuana allowed for a patient registered with the Rhode Island Department of Health under the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act.

A court-authorized search warrant was obtained for the residence, which resulted in the discovery of a Marijuana grow operation in the basement that included fourteen (14) mature Marijuana plants, nine (9) immature Marijuana plants, and twenty (20) Marijuana seedlings, as well as associated Marijuana cultivation equipment. The amount of mature Marijuana plants and seedlings seized from the residence is also in excess of the amount allowable for a registered Medical Marijuana Patient under the Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act. The total amount of marijuana seized from the residence was approximately two (2) kilograms of Marijuana, which was packaged in mason jars and several gallon sized plastic bags. Also seized from the residence were approximately six (6) grams of Cocaine, two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, a double barrel shotgun, a SKS bolt action rifle, digital scales and $3657.00 in United States currency.

Mr. Byers was charged with Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver (one to five kilograms), Cultivation of Marijuana, Possession of Cocaine, and four counts of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon when Committing a Crime of Violence. This morning, Mr. Byers was arraigned on the aforementioned charges by a Justice of the Peace who ordered him held without bail. Mr. Byers is currently being held at the Adult Correctional Institution until a formal arraignment scheduled for Monday, April 14, 2014 at the Fourth District Court in Wakefield. Mr. Byers’s children were released to the custody of their mother.