Rancher is held in Big Isle pot operation
HILO » Big Island resident David Finley, 64, was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail yesterday on 14 charges related to a large marijuana growing operation at his home near Volcano village.
A preliminary hearing was set for 10 a.m. tomorrow in Puna District Court following Finley's initial appearance in the Hilo District court yesterday. Finley did not enter a plea.
Following his arrest Monday on his 29-acre ranch, Finley's bail was initially set at $175,000, but Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier successfully argued that it should be raised, citing a plane ticket to Mexico found in Finley's possession.
Finley's wife Mary, 60, turned herself in to police Monday after her husband was arrested, but she was released without charges yesterday pending further investigation, police said.
Finley was found with marijuana and hashish production facilities in three areas on his property, police said. They found 199 marijuana plants, 75.65 pounds of dried marijuana, two pounds of processed hashish, 18.8 grams of illegal psilocybin mushrooms in bags labeled "pasture mushrooms," and 59 methadone pills. Police also found various types of production paraphernalia.
Part of the dried marijuana was found in individually sealed 1-ounce packages, each labeled with a price ranging from $280 to $300, police said.
Deputy Skier said police put the overall value of the drugs at $500,000 to $750,000.
Police said the bust was the largest marijuana operation found in recent memory. Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville said there were several much larger marijuana busts in prior decades, each with several hundred pounds discovered during searches.
Finley had a valid state medical marijuana card, but that allows the holder to have only seven marijuana plants plus one ounce of dried marijuana.