FDNY Veteran Accused of Growing 100 Marijuana Plants, Endangering Kids
Patrick Murray, pictured in 2009, is a city firefighter accused of growing over 100 marijuana plants. [AP]
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
August 24, 2010
NEW YORK – A city firefighter was caught “red-handed” tending more than 100 marijuana plants – each worth $5,000 – in the basement of a Queens house, a prosecutor said Monday.
Patrick Murray was not only running an illegal drug operation, but he was also endangering three young kids living above the drug den, exposing them to harmful fumes from powerful chemical fertilizers and carbon dioxide gas, said Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
“While most firefighters enter a house to save lives, the defendant entered this house to take care of business,” Dayananda said in her opening statement to the jury.
Murray, a seven-year veteran of the FDNY, is also a reputed member of a notorious gang called “The Master Race” which is heavily involved in marijuana growing and trafficking, according to court papers.
Federal Judge John Gleeson has precluded any references to the firefighter’s alleged gang affiliation.
Murray was nabbed by NYPD cops who were checking out an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown in the rented house on 237th St. in Bellerose.
The government’s star witness will be another disgraced firefighter, Matthew Cody, who worked in Engine 292 with Murray and pleaded guilty to drug charges in connection with the marijuana operation.
Cody owned the house along with his brother, Michael, a city sanitation worker, and allowed Murray to use the basement to grow hydroponic pot plants.
Defense lawyer Lee Ginsberg told the jury that Cody is testifying to avoid a five-year sentence.
“Matthew Cody if he tells any truth on the witness stand…will tell you that Patrick Murray was helping him for months and months to build an apartment in the basement,” Ginsberg said.
“Patrick Murray had nothing to do with this marijuana operation,” he added.