Police: Marijuana plants, firearms found at home of Garner man killed in motorcycle crash

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comMarch 13, 2013 

— The day after William Michael McGinley died in a motorcycle crash in South Raleigh, his landlord opened the front door of his apartment in Garner and stepped into a small-scale marijuana growing operation, according to Garner police.

Raleigh police think McGinley, 61, was drunk when he lost control of his Harley Davidson motorcycle on Tryon Road, but toxicology tests are pending at the medical examiner’s office.

Late Monday morning, McGinley’s landlord called the Garner Police Department and said he went to the deceased man’s apartment at 1057-A Benson Road and found several large black planters filled with dirt and cane sticks. The landlord also told police that he could smell a strong odor of raw marijuana inside the apartment, according to a search warrant made public Tuesday at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.

Armed with the search warrant, police later found marijuana in several stages of development and a small cache of firearms in the apartment, Garner Officer M. Finochio stated in the warrant.

Investigators found 10 marijuana plants in the basement, three hangers of marijuana drying, two Ziploc bags of marijuana in a clothes hamper, 19 more plants and three jars of the substance in an undisclosed location and two bags of marijuana clippings in the freezer.

Officers also found loose marijuana, a pipe, grinder and bong in the living room next to a recliner, according to the warrant.

Police recovered a Smith and Wesson Bushmaster rifle in a hall closet, a .22-caliber Smith and Wesson rifle and .12-gauge Browning shotgun in a rear bedroom, and a 9 mm-Smith and Wesson handgun in an undisclosed location, along with $420 in cash in a bedroom drawer, according to the warrant.

Police also seized what appeared to be marijuana grow lamps, an air filter and fan.

Garner Officer J. P. Jones said Tuesday that McGinley lived alone. He said police are still investigating the marijuana and firearms found at the apartment.

“The investigation is ongoing as to whether anyone else is involved,” Jones said.

McGinley’s family could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Raleigh police say McGinley lost control of his motorcycle in a curve on Tryon Road, between Par Drive and Ileagnes Road, around 1 a.m. Sunday.

The motorcycle ran off the left side of the road and overturned. Emergency workers say McGinley died at the scene, according to an accident report made public Tuesday.

Researcher Peggy Neal contributed to this report.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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