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A North Attleborough man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he illegally grew 63 marijuana plants in a detached garage next to his home.

Michael Alves, 41, told police after they searched his home and garage in October that he is a registered medical marijuana patient and that he thought his medical card gave him the authority to grow up to 99 plants, according to court records. In Massachusetts, households with just a single adult can grow up to six marijuana plants; households of two or more adults can grow up to 12 plants.

Police searched his home on Oct. 11 after a weekslong investigation that included analyzing his electricity bills and finding that the bills for his garage were unusually high. Police said the garage electricity bills were “15 to 20 times higher than the main residence,” according to an incident narrative report submitted to the court. He was charged as much as $2,496.83 for the month of April.

Officers found plants behind three different doors inside the garage, including 26 mature plants and 37 small plants. Inside a storage room, they also found a scale, plastic bags, eight bags of loose marijuana, and a tote with dried marijuana.

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Inside Alves’s house, they found loose buds, three bags of dried marijuana, and a duffel bag with $6,980 in cash, entirely in $20 bills, according to the court documents.

Alves was not home when police searched his home, but his 18-year-old son — who was home — called Alves, who spoke to an officer on the phone and told him that he was in Miami. The officer said Alves “asked me several times if he was going to be arrested.”

“I advised him I wanted to speak to him as soon as possible and he would be facing consequences for his actions,” the officer wrote in his incident report.

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Alves pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday in Attleboro District Court to one count of the unlawful manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, cultivation, or possession of a Class D substance (marijuana). He was released on personal recognizance.


Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.