Natrona pot grower a repeat offender, police say
A Harrison man accused of having a sophisticated marijuana growing operation inside the former Natrona Fire Hall was busted in 2007 for having more than 500 marijuana plants in his West Leechburg residence.
James Joseph Kubla, 35, of River Road is facing four drug charges, including felony drug manufacturing, after Harrison police discovered an elaborate marijuana growing operation at the fire hall on Saturday after responding to a domestic violence call next door.
It's not the first time that Kubla has been accused of operating a large, indoor growing operation.
In 2007, West Leechburg and other police found about 300 hydroponically grown, mature marijuana plants and about 200 smaller plants and seedlings growing throughout his house.
They also found a 10-gallon picnic cooler and 10-gallon trash bag full of dried marijuana, along with storage boxes full of dried marijuana stems, seeds and leaves.
According to police, Kubla initially said he was growing the pot for his own use.
The marijuana was grown in water and chemicals in a sophisticated setup of lights with plastic reservoirs and piping to keep the mixture circulating.
Police said they needed four dump truckloads to remove the pot and growing materials.
Kubla was charged with possession and possession with intent to deliver. He eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, possession, and avoided a mandatory five-year prison sentence.
He was ordered to serve home detention for nine months and probation and to get counseling.
He also paid about $1,600 for restitution to West Leechburg police for the expense of hauling away the plants and growing equipment.
Harrison Police say that on Saturday, they smelled marijuana when responding to an alleged fight between Kubla and a girlfriend in his River Road residence in Natrona.
Police got a search warrant and on Sunday searched the former fire hall next door, which Kubla owns.
Officers said they found a watering and nutrient-feeding operation designed to produce high-potency marijuana.
“It was a pretty elaborate system,” said Harrison police Chief Mike Klein. “It could flood the roots and then drain and recycle the water.”Police didn't find marijuana plants, only about 2 ounces of mostly marijuana leaves. On Sunday, it took two flatbed trucks and a pickup to haul away the grow lab for evidence, Klein said.
Police on Tuesday said they have an arrest warrant for Kubla on the marijuana charges.
He posted $10,000 bond Saturday and was released pending a preliminary hearing for simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct. A Jan. 29 hearing is scheduled for that case.
In the drug case, Kubla will be arraigned by a district judge and a preliminary hearing date will be scheduled, police said.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cochran repair center planned in Harrison
- Springdale councilmen resigned to defeat
- Roaring Run mountain bike trail to be thrust into limelight
- New Kensington constructs Little Free Library
- Harrison eyes liens against rundown properties
- Good season predicted for Western Pa. boaters
- Harmar OKs Sheetz land development plan
- Knoch thrower’s 2nd gold medal highlights big day for A-K Valley athletes at PIAA track meet
- PennDOT puts final touches on Route 28 construction
- VND photographers, reporters recognized
- Several Alle-Kiski pools were overhauled to make facilities more attractive