Police used hidden video camera, microchips to track marijuana found at ex-sheriff’s farm

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By Bill Estep

bestep@herald-leader.com

September 18, 2017 11:49 AM

Former Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman allegedly supplied marijuana plants to two other men to grow on Peyman’s farm, a state police detective testified Monday.

Peyman was a participant in the state’s experimental effort to develop hemp as a commercial crop for farmers.

Darren Allen, the state police detective, said he suspected that Peyman and the two men allegedly involved with him thought police would think the marijuana was hemp.

Allen testified that state police spotted suspected marijuana plants at Peyman’s farm during aerial surveillance in July. The plants were in a tree line and were surrounded by weeds about 350 yards from the industrial hemp on Peyman’s farm in the southern part of Jackson County, Allen said.

State police sneaked to the plants without Peyman’s knowledge, took samples, mounted hidden cameras near the plants and a nearby parking spot, and put tracking microchips in six of the 61 plants at the site, Allen said.

Police covertly checked the plot on Sept. 5 and found that the marijuana had been harvested. The video showed two men who were allegedly involved with Peyman harvesting the plants the day before, Allen said.

Police got a warrant to search Peyman’s barn and house on Sept. 6 and arrested him after finding suspected marijuana plants. The plants were in a hidden room in his barn, Allen said.

There were 71 plants. It is possible that some of the original 61 split while being harvested, Allen aid.

Allen testified that five of the microchips he had put in the suspected marijuana plants at the back of Peyman’s farm were found in plants in the barn.

Tests showed that the plants had a higher level of the “high”-producing chemical than industrial hemp plants involved in Kentucky’s pilot program are allowed to have, Allen said.

The two men who were allegedly growing the pot on Peyman’s farm, Edward Hoskins and Arthur “Fuzzy” Gibson, told police they understood that Peyman was in danger of losing his farm and wanted to get into the marijuana business to save the farm, Allen said.

Both men said Pyeman supplied them the plants found growing on his farm, and that they were growing the pot for him, Allen testified.

Jackson District Judge Henria Bailey Lewis ruled that there is probable cause to forward Peyman’s case to a grand jury for a possible indictment.

She set a hearing for Nov. 7 for Peyman to answer the indictment if the grand jury charges him.

Peyman is charged with cultivating marijuana and trafficking in steroids. He is free on bond.

Sean Southard, a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said Peyman left the state’s pilot industrial hemp program after he was arrested.

Bill Estep: 606-678-4655, @billestep1

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