BRENTWOOD – An Auburn man arrested on drug manufacturing charges after posting videos of his alleged pot growing operation on YouTube went back to the Internet on Friday to defend himself, saying he is only growing the marijuana to help an aunt with cancer.
Kyle Thomas Berry, 40, who uses the YouTube handle "beginnergrowerktb1", was charged on Tuesday with manufacturing a controlled drug and possession with a controlled drug with intent to distribute.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Drug Task Force was able to identify Berry after looking at 35 videos he allegedly posted on YouTube, including one investigators say showed his face in a reflection.
Berry said in a Friday posting that his aunt was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer throughout her body, and his grandfather died from a brain tumor a few years earlier.
"I'm not a drug dealer," Berry wrote in comments section of a video titled 'Merry Christmas'. "All I wanted to do is help my aunt. I'm not a bad person, all I wanted to do is give my aunt a chance, and if not, at least make her comfortable."
Berry could not be reached for comment late Friday.
In the wake of his arrest, page views on his YouTube videos have gone from a couple dozen to a few hundred on some videos.
Deputies seized approximately 16 plants from a basement of Berry's home along with a variety of hazardous chemicals now being tested by the state.
Deputies began collecting information about Berry on Dec. 20, including his home address, a booking photo from a November 2010 jail stint, and a driver's license photo.
His driver's license and booking photos were used by deputies to compare with a reflection of the video's narrator on one of the YouTube videos.
Investigators say they first learned of Berry possibly putting videos of his grow operation online through a confidential source. Berry is due back in court next week for a probable cause hearing.