Shed fire leads to discovery of marijuana plants on attorney's property
By Sally Voth -- email@example.com
FISHERS HILL -- Prominent local attorney and substitute judge James H. Allamong Jr. is free on his own recognizance after marijuana plants were found on his property, according to the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office.
"A large number" of marijuana plants were found growing on his property at 1817 Copp Road when firefighters responded to a fire at a nearby outbuilding there Monday afternoon, Shenandoah County Sheriff's Maj. Scott Proctor said.
"Firefighters on the scene reported that they noticed what appeared to be several marijuana plants next to the structure that was on fire," he said.
Proctor said the marijuana is believed to have a street value of more than $150,000.
In a Wednesday evening phone interview, Allamong said the marijuana was for his own use, and that he has to report his charges to the state judicial inquiry and review commission.
"It was for personal use," he said. "That's the reality of it. It will be proven in court when it gets to court."
Allamong said he smokes marijuana to alleviate the pain of injuries he sustained in Vietnam.
"That's the only reason I had the stuff," he said. "Obviously, I wish I had an opportunity to go another way, where you can get medicinal marijuana in Virginia, but that's not an option.
"I was wounded in Vietnam from a severe concussion blast and had severe joint and hip problems that just are debilitating."
The fire, which was in a shed owned by Erbach Enterprises LLC and used by Allamong, remains under investigation, according to a news release from the Shenandoah County Fire and Rescue Department. The release makes no mention of drugs.
Proctor said Allamong consented to a search of his property by a Sheriff's Office investigator who is on the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force.
"A large number of plants and a small amount of processed what's believed to be marijuana was recovered," he said.
Allamong, who is charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, turned himself in Wednesday afternoon, Proctor said. He said Allamong was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to be in Shenandoah County General District Court on Oct. 21.