SOLON — Norman Dickinson Jr., 34, of Fairfield was arrested late Monday night in Solon, charged with several Class A crimes related to drug trafficking and cultivation.
Dickinson is being held at the Somerset County Jail in lieu of bail set at $75,000 surety or $45,000 cash. Dickinson, who operated Turbo Electronics, a computer-related company in Fairfield, was charged with aggravated cultivation of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and aggravated drug trafficking. Dickinson’s charges were elevated to the Class A level because of previous drug-related convictions, according to Lt. Carl Gottardi of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.
Dickinson faces a maximum penalty of up to 40 years in prison based on the charges and his previous record, the deputy said.
Gottardi lead a team of deputies in executing a search warrant on Dickinson’s property at the intersection of Route 201 and the South Solon Road shortly before 9 p.m. Monday.
“More than 700 marijuana plants in various stages of cultivation were seized,” Gottardi reported Tuesday. “It was a very sophisticated growing operation.”
Dickinson’s operation at the Solon site had been under investigation for more than a year, Gottardi said. The operation included a Quonset hut and an adjacent tractor-trailer box. Deputies removed three truckloads of material from the property, including processed and dried marijuana and cultivation equipment. Also seized in the search were a van used in connection with the growing operation and a .38-caliber revolver found loaded in the man’s jacket, the deputy said.
Shan Chapman, 30, of Skowhegan who was present during the search, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Chapman was released pending a review of the charges with the Somerset County district attorney. Chapman is on probation in connection with several burglary convictions.
Dickinson’s case may be referred to federal authorities because of his earlier convictions in connection with well-publicized drug raids in 1988 at the Ruby Lounge and an adjacent motel in Fairfield that involved cocaine, marijuana and other drugs. Dickinson served a lengthy prison term for his involvement, Gottardi said.