CT: Stamford man ran ‘sophisticated’ drug lab out of his garage

Stamford Advocate –

He was running “a very substantial operation” where he produced marijuana wax cartridges out of a lab in the garage of his rental home in Stamford’s Cove neighborhood.

STAMFORD — Officers responded to an affluent neighborhood on reports of domestic violence Thursday, but what they discovered was a “sophisticated” drug lab being operated out of a garage, according to police.

Francisco Tineo, 42, of Stamford, was charged with operating a drug factory, possession of over one kilogram of marijuana, possession of over 4 ounces of marijuana with intent to sell, five counts of second-degree threatening and five counts of disorderly conduct.

Capt. Richard Conklin said Tineo was running “a very substantial operation” where he produced marijuana wax cartridges out of a lab in the garage of his rental home in Stamford’s Cove neighborhood.

Conklin said officers made the discovery when they responded to Tineo’s home around 11 a.m. Thursday on reports that he was threatening other members of the household.

Tineo was arrested for the alleged domestic incident at the time, but during that investigation officers noticed telltale signs of a “narcotics nexus” being operated from the home, Conklin said.

“The patrol division that responded to this domestic-related call did a great job of remaining alert and prudent and noticing these things that pointed to there being a narcotics operation on site,” Conklin said.

Investigators uncovered the drug lab after obtaining a search warrant for the home later that day.

Conklin said the lab was outfitted with equipment that helped convert marijuana into wax, which was then being packaged into THC vape cartridges. In addition to the equipment, Conklin said they seized several money counters, $74,000 in cash, over 8 pounds of marijuana, “large, large amounts” of THC wax, hundreds of vape cartridges and a professional pill press — which is illegal.

Criminal defense attorney Mark Sherman, who represents Tineo, said it was “premature” to discuss case specifics, but denied that his client was operating any kind of drug distribution factory.

“Much of the seized oils and items were in fact legal to possess. This area of marijuana law is evolving quickly so we are hopeful for a fair and quick resolution in court,” Sherman said.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has since been called in to help police investigate the operation.

“This is very much still an ongoing investigation,” Conklin said.

Tineo was released Friday morning after posting the $15,000 bond for the domestic-related charges and the $150,000 bond related to the drug charges.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 4.

This isn’t the first time Tineo has had a run-in with the law.

In 2012, the former stockbroker was convicted of securities fraud and wire fraud, according to court records from the Southern District of New York. He was sentenced to 18 months and ordered to pay $420,000 in restitution.

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