When pot meets slavery

Labor trafficking found in Sullivan County

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 9/8/20

TOWN OF LIBERTY — The details are sparse.

But what there was to report shows that cannabis farming has its shadow side. 

And it’s here in Sullivan County. At the last …

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When pot meets slavery

Labor trafficking found in Sullivan County

Posted

TOWN OF LIBERTY — The details are sparse.

But what there was to report shows that cannabis farming has its shadow side. 

And it’s here in Sullivan County. At the last Thursday’s Public Safety Committee meeting in August, undersheriff Eric Chaboty reported that the sheriff’s department “took down a marijuana growing operation in the Town of Liberty.”

In a press release issued for the August 31 Overdose Awareness Day, Acting D.A. Meagan Galligan announced that “her office, together with the Department of Homeland Security and the sheriff’s office, investigated and seized more than one and a half tons of marijuana, the largest marijuana grow seizure in Sullivan County history by executing a search warrant with assistance from the New York State Police on Midway Road in the Town of Liberty. So far, one individual, Juan Rosado, 53, of Henryville, PA, has been arrested in connection with that investigation.”

The New York State cannabis market was valued at $1.8 billion in 2018, according to Grandview Research. 

But “the investigation is not so much about marijuana as it is about human labor trafficking. We believe undocumented immigrants were all brought here to work and were held against their will,” Chaboty said. “The investigation is continuing with the D.A.’s office.” 

Later in the meeting, acting D.A. Meagan Galligan added that there is a “central victim” and that the office’s crime victim advocate is meeting with this person daily. “We are keeping the victim in a safe place.” Serious medical issues, she said, resulted in surgery recently. Members of the Sullivan County community and New York’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance are also providing financial, physical and emotional support to this person.

“Unfortunately, labor traffickers are preying upon undocumented people who are afraid to come forward,” she said.

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