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Cops: 53 Pounds of Pot Seized From Westchester Group Home Worker

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton police said they seized more than 53 pounds of marijuana Wednesday night from a caregiver to mentally disabled individuals.

Andron Lewis, 255 Huguenot St., New Rochelle, was charged with felony criminal possession of marijuana. Police said Lewis was having the drugs shipped to a group home where he worked in Croton-on-Hudson.

Croton police said the two large packages, containing 53.6 pounds of marijuana, are believed to have come from California and have an estimated street value of $345,000. The bust was the result of an eight-month investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

The investigation culminated about 7 p.m. Wednesday, when Croton police said Lewis failed to signal and was pulled over for a traffic violation. New York State Police narcotics dog Hudson assisted in locating the marijuana in the van, police said. Lewis did not attempt to hide the packages and they were in plain sight, police said.

The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, the group which operates the home where Lewis worked, said they only learned of the incident upon Lewis’ arrest.

“We are working with the police, and if it’s determined that anyone had any knowledge of this, they will be fired,” said Normal Liss, the company's attorney.

The company also is conducting its own investigation, according to Liss, into the 10 other employees who worked with Lewis at the Croton home.

Liss said the company is “fastidious” in its hiring practices and each employee is subject to a criminal background check. He said Lewis had no criminal incidents on his record at the time he was hired in 2007. Liss said Lewis was driving a company vehicle at the time of the arrest and the company is working with police to determine where the company vehicle may have been when Lewis was in possession of it.

Police Chief Anthony Tramaglini said police believe Lewis used the mentally handicapped residents he cared for at the group home to assist him in moving the marijuana in and out of a vehicle. Police said because of the ongoing investigation, they are unable to say how many shipments the group home might have received and if Lewis acted alone in transporting the large quantities of marijuana.

“We were shocked at that, and we’re shocked anyone would use people like that,” Tramaglini said. “Parts of it are still ongoing, but we received information on shipments.”

Lewis was sent to Westchester County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail and is due back in court April 4. He was arraigned in Village Justice Court by Justice Sam Watkins.

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