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Former Watertown councilor found with $2m worth of pot, authorities say

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 21, 2011 11:37 AM

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A former Watertown councilor was arrested this week and charged with trafficking marijuana at his Waltham warehouse, where police found 1,062 pot plants and 300 pounds of loose cut marijuana, worth around $2 million, along with $20,000 in cash, according to authorities.

Thomas Gus Bailey, 49, was taken into custody Wednesday along with two other men – Auburndale resident Eric Falzon, 43, and Brookline resident Clay Gollobin, 42, said Cara O'Brien, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

Bailey served as a councilor in Watertown from 2001 through 2005, according to Watertown’s town clerk, John Flynn. Flynn confirmed that the man arrested Wednesday is the former councilor.

All three suspects were charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws, possession with intent to distribute a Class D drug, and marijuana trafficking.

Bailey faces two counts of the possession charge, since police stopped an individual beforehand who had purchased the drugs, O’Brien said.

Terrence Kennedy, attorney for Falzon, declined comment. Lawyers for the other defendants could not be reached.

The arrests and drug seizures were part of an ongoing investigation by the Waltham Police Department and officers assigned to the Suburban Middlesex County Drug Task Force, O’Brien said.

She said “at this time, there is no connection” between this case and the triple homicide involving drugs in Waltham on Sept. 12.

The warehouse sits at 269 Lexington Street in Waltham, exactly one mile down the road from Waltham Police Department Headquarters.

According to the search warrant affidavit, Waltham police detective Joseph Connors received a tip from Framingham police detective Matt Gutwill that a large-scale marijuana growing operation was being operated out of the warehouse, according to Gutwill’s confidential source.

After visiting the warehouse on Tuesday, Connors observed fully-covered front glass doors to block visitors from peering in, two large commercial-grade exhaust fans affixed to the roof working at full capacity, and foil covering the rear windows – methods used to expedite the growing process and to stop the strong odor from emanating outdoors, he said in the affidavit.

After conducting surveillance at the property Wednesday morning, Waltham police pulled over a Jamaica Plain resident, after he exited the building and found a brown paper sandwich bag in the back seat holding $800 worth of marijuana, according to the affidavit. The Jamaica Plain resident confirmed that a man named “Gus” sold him the drugs, further identifying him as Thomas Gus Bailey.

Waltham police then backtracked to the warehouse, where Bailey let them in after several doorbell rings and Connors shattering the front door’s glass exterior, the report states.

They discovered Gollobin near the front of the building, and caught Falzon as he was exiting basement.

The three men were arraigned yesterday in Waltham District Court. Bailey, Falzon and Gollobin were held on $100,000, $15,000, and $10,000 cash bail, respectively.

Gollobin’s bail had been posted by Friday afternoon, according to Waltham District Court clerk administrators.

All three are due back in court Nov. 7 for a pre-trial conference.

Watertown Town Council president Mark Sideris served on the council with Bailey during his full four years of tenure, and said he often played sports with Bailey and his family.

“He was a very hardworking councilor, and he was good with constituent issues when needed,” Sideris said. “I am surprised at what happened.”

Sideris said Bailey “absolutely did not” show any traces of drug familiarity when they worked together.

“It’s surprising because he seemed like a nice, reasonable guy,”
Sideris said.

Owners of City Streets Restaurant, which sits in a small plaza three doors down from the warehouse, said they were not aware of the drug bust, but were shocked – especially considering the close proximity to police headquarters.

“That’s what really made me go, ‘Are you kidding?’” restaurant owner Rob Shanahan, 39, said. “Waltham’s such a great community – I don’t think it reflects upon the community at all.”

Follow us on Twitter: @walthamupdate, @watertownupdate

To contact Jaclyn Reiss, email her at jaclyn.reiss@gmail.com

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