A central Massachusetts family plumbing business that authorities say was being used as a ‘front’ for a large-scale marijuana distribution business was mentioned in the investigation of a large-scale grow operation in Canada a while ago. several years ago, according to records filed in federal court.
Charles “Chuck” Laverty, his wife, Andrea Laverty, and their son, Thomas Laverty, all face federal charges in connection with the discovery of $6 million worth of marijuana in a Clinton warehouse in 2017. The family runs Chuck Laverty & Son Inc. in Millbury.
Lawyers for the three family members filed a motion last month saying all evidence seized from Clinton’s warehouse and the family’s Millbury home should be expunged.
The government says the searches at both locations were legal.
A federal prosecutor filed documents in late October, including an affidavit filed by Robert Olsen, a special agent for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
The affidavit details the investigation into the Laverty plumbing company in 2017. Part of the investigation involved surveillance.
Olsen said on September 7, 2017, he saw a truck arrive at Chuck and Andrea Laverty’s home at 5 Victoria Terrace in Millbury. The truck was registered to a man who was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the DEA and identified as a former member of a “Canadian drug smuggling organization. marijuana on a large scale”.
The man pleaded guilty in federal court in Vermont to conspiring to distribute marijuana in 2011.
Olsen reviewed an interview conducted with one of the defendants in the Canadian case. A defendant, who spoke to investigators in 2011, identified Thomas Laverty as being involved in the distribution of marijuana.
Thomas Laverty, according to the special agent, was “involved in a tractor-trailer load of marijuana that arrived at a warehouse in Millbury, Massachusetts in March 2010.”
The warehouse was located on Howe Avenue in Millbury, which at the time was connected to Chuck Laverty & Son.
Thomas Laverty, 38, of Clinton; Charles Laverty, 61, of Millbury; and Andrea Laverty, 61, of Millbury, have each been charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture more than 1,000 marijuana plants and one count of conspiracy to launder money in federal court .
Thomas and Charles Laverty were also charged with manufacturing and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. Thomas Laverty is also charged with theft of government funds related to his receipt of SNAP benefits.
On October 17, 2017, federal and local drug investigators executed search warrants at the residence of Thomas Laverty at 843 Main Street in Clinton and seized over 1,000 marijuana plants worth $6 million, according to an affidavit filed by Olsen.
Investigators also visited 5 Victoria Terrace in Millbury, the home of Chuck and Andrea Laverty and the location of the family business. Marijuana was seized from Millbury’s home, authorities said.
Both sites housed grow operations, federal prosecutors said.
Authorities said there was a sophisticated growing operation in the Clinton warehouse with air-circulating machinery, irrigation systems, plant food, indoor plant lighting and about 1 029 marijuana plants.
Investigators believe the Clinton location was used to house the large-scale marijuana grow operation while the Millbury location was used for storage and distribution.
Court filings show the DEA opened an investigation into the plumbing and heating industry in March 2017. Investigators monitored the Millbury warehouse and home and extracted utility company records.
Investigators also reviewed the family’s tax and banking records.