Man charged in pot scheme


POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Upcountry Maui man has been charged in connection with a sophisticated indoor marijuana-growing operation at his residence, where a loaded shotgun and more than 1,200 plants were confiscated.

Eric Welander, 36, who is unemployed, was charged with first- and second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and a felon in possession of ammunition. He was also charged with first-degree promotion of a harmful drug and three counts of prohibited acts related to possessing drug paraphernalia.

Welander was released Wednesday, the same day of his arrest, after posting $145,000 bail.

Police said the investigation was continuing but declined to say whether more arrests were pending.

Welander was arrested at his Piiholo residence after a vice investigation and the execution of a search warrant that resulted in the seizure of 1,234 marijuana plants at various growth stages, 187 cuttings, the shotgun with numerous rounds of ammunition, about 9.6 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 18 grams of hashish and $458 in cash, police said.

; Police said he was renting the home located in a residential area with large property lots, several miles northeast of Makawao.

Police said the seizure also included high-pressure sodium grow lights, fans, ballasts, timer systems and numerous trays and pots.

Police said Welander is suspected of selling marijuana in multipound quantities and also had a small outdoor growing operation.

Welander was convicted in 1999 of two felonies on the mainland, including the sale and distribution of drugs.