A Latrobe man and woman were charged Thursday in connection with an alleged marijuana growing operation that had been running for about a year before Latrobe police and members of the Westmoreland County Drug Task Force last month raided the woman’s home.
Police charged Raymond Jay Baughman, 57, of Latrobe with manufacture with intent to deliver a controlled substance, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, and charged Evelyn Youdech, 82, of Latrobe with conspiracy after she allegedly allowed Baughman to use her home on Raymond Avenue as his base of operations to grow more than 50 marijuana plants. Neither Baughman nor Youdech had been arraigned on the charges as of Friday morning, according to court records.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Latrobe police learned from an anonymous tipster of an alleged marijuana grow operation on the 2100 block of Raymond Avenue with plants that would “be ready to harvest around Christmas.”
The tipster told police Baughman was taking care of the plants, and later informed police “the marijuana grow operation was going to be dismantled in the immediate future due to concerns of police intervention,” Latrobe police Officer Zachary Lukon wrote in court documents.
Police acted quickly on the tip, arriving at Youdech’s home about 40 minutes later on Dec. 12. As officers were knocking on the door, Youdech arrived home, according to the affidavit, allowing officers inside the home and consenting to a search of the property.
Police located three “grow tents” inside the home in two upstairs bedrooms and the basement, according to the affidavit, and called in the county task force to complete the search and collect evidence.
According to court documents, police removed a total of 51 marijuana plants, a box of marijuana leaf clippings, a seed starter kit, three grow tents, six fans, 12 LED grow lights, a bottle of plant cloning solution and other items, including an unopened box of LED grow light panels with a shipping label bearing Baughman’s name. Youdech told police she had been friends with Baughman for about 20 years and said that in December 2019 he had approached her, asking if she would let him grow marijuana at her home, according to the affidavit. “Baughman believed that he would be able to make $50,000 and agreed to share a portion of the profit,” Lukon wrote in court documents. “The exact percentage was never established.”
Baughman allegedly had packages delivered to Youdech’s home and brought other supplies with him to set up the grow operation, visiting the home “every other day to tend to the plants.”
Youdech told police that neither she nor her two adult children assisted in the care of the plants, and said that Baughman had paid her $200 in spring or early summer and had harvested marijuana from the plants once, about five or six months prior to police seizing the plants.
Baughman allegedly asked Youdech to “take the fall” for the marijuana after learning police were at the home, Lukon wrote in the affidavit, because she had no criminal record.