A 37-year-old man is facing drug charges after investigators arrested him in Middleton on Monday while he was in possession of 160 pounds of marijuana, authorities said.
Paul Lyman was arraigned Tuesday in Salem District Court on charges of trafficking marijuana and conspiracy, according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office. He was ordered held on $25,000 bail, and a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
“He was part of a scheme where he received 3 pallets of a shipment containing marijuana,” said Carrie Kimball Monahan, Blodgett’s spokeswoman, in an e-mail Wednesday. She wrote that Lyman “had 160 [pounds]” of marijuana when he was taken into custody.
The Salem News reported that Lyman, of Lynn, was arrested outside a Middleton motel after police found him and another Lynn resident loading bags of pot into his SUV.
Middleton police Chief James DiGianvittorio told the Salem News that the drugs could have a street value of up to $1,200 per pound, or a total of $192,000.
Massachusetts voters in November approved a ballot question that legalized marijuana for recreational use — medical marijuana became legal in the state after voters passed an earlier ballot question in 2012 — and recreational sales are currently slated to begin in July under the supervision of the Cannabis Control Commission.
But the future of the drug was thrown into doubt Monday when the US attorney for Massachusetts, Andrew E. Lelling, said in a statement that he could not “provide assurances that certain categories of participants in the state-level marijuana trade will be immune from prosecution” at the federal level, where the drug remains illegal.
His comments followed US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent decision to grant federal prosecutors broader discretion to enforce the longstanding national prohibition on cannabis, which the Obama administration had limited in states that approved the drug for recreational or medical use.Dan Adams and Joshua Miller of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.