An Attleboro District Court judge has dismissed a marijuana distribution case against a North Attleborough man.
The case against Michael Alves, 44, of 35 Indian Trail, was dismissed after the State Appeals court ruled on Jan. 17 that the search warrants obtained by police did not establish probable cause for illegal cultivation of marijuana on his property.
Alves was arrested and charged in 2019 for an alleged illegal indoor marijuana growing operation that included enough plants to bring in an estimated $200,000 in sales. In October, North Attleborough Police raided Alves’s garage after receiving a tip from workers of the North Attleborough Electric Department.
According to court records, the evidence seized in the raid included 63 marijuana plants between three to five feet tall, six pounds of marijuana in plastic bags, and other items used to grow and cultivate the plant. The workers, who were inspecting a transformer near the area, said they noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the garage, and electric usage in the space was higher than the average residential usage.
In 2021, Attleboro District Court Judge Edmond Mathers threw out the evidence seized by police. The Bristol County District Attorney’s office appealed the case to the State Appeals court–arguing the evidence was able to provide probable cause of an illegal cultivation operation.
The appeals court panel found, however, that while the evidence and the tip did raise suspicions, it was not enough to prove probable cause.
“Although these facts may be relevant to the analysis, we are unpersuaded that they, without more, establish probable cause that any marijuana cultivation here was unlawful,” the panel said in their ruling.
Prosecutors dropped the case after the court’s decision.
Alves’s lawyer, John Pavlos of Randolph, said his client will file a lawsuit against North Attleborough, the police department and Chief Richard McQuade. According to Pavlos, the suit is likely to include the claims of malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations.
McQuade did not immediately respond to return messages from the Reporter.