Former Buffalo Police Officer Jorge Melendez, 44, was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture 100 marijuana plants. Jorge was sentenced to 60 months in prison for pot. In addition, Jorge must pay and surrender to asset forfeiture- he is to pay a the government $300,000, and forfeit a Suburban vehicle, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 36 foot speed boat, and seven firearms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Tripi stated that Jorge Melendez, Jason Elardo, and Robert Osika, and Gale Elardo were arrested after a long term investigation into a marijuana grow. Specifically, a marijuana grow located at 2157 South Park Ave. in Buffalo. During the course of an investigation law enforcement officers installed hidden surveillance equipment on the second floor of the South Park Ave. warehouse where the marijuana grow was located. The surveillance video showed Melendez and Elardo tending to over 100 marijuana plants.
The outside surveillance cameras observed Jason entering the warehouse on a daily basis to tend to the marijuana grow. Big surprise to learn that law enforcement obtained credit card information showing that Elardo purchased equipment used to maintain the indoor, hydroponic marijuana grow.
On May 31, 2012, two additional locations were found to contain marijuana grows. A warehouse located at 1372 Clinton Street and a residence located at 76 West Woodside, both owned by Jason, and Gale. DEA claims that marijuana was being cultivated at these sites but no amount was given.
Robert Osika and Jason Elardo have been convicted and are awaiting sentenced. Jason Elardo is sadly now deceased.
The waste of money and resources being used to prosecute marijuana cultivators is excessive and needs to stop. The following are the agencies that investigated this case: Investigators of the New York State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Field Division, Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Buffalo Police Department. Not to mention The Federal Court House: Staff, bailiffs, Judge, Jury, Court Reporter all of these people have jobs thanks to Marijuana Cultivators.
I have yet to be able to find Jorge in the BOP, as he may not have been processed yet.