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Indictment in Auburn YouTube pot bust
The reflection at left in this image captured from YouTube was used by authorities to identify Kyle Berry, 40, of Auburn, who was indicted this month on felony drug charges. (JAMES A. KIMBLE / FILE PHOTO)
Kyle Berry, 40, now faces up to 7 1/2 to 15 years on a pair of felony drug charges alleging he intended to sell the marijuana he was growing in his Auburn apartment in January.
Berry, who is free on bail, will be arraigned on the charges later this month in Rockingham County Superior Court.
A grand jury indicted him on felony counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to sell, manufacture of a controlled drug and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled drug.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Department began watching Berry's YouTube account after receiving a tip from a confidential informant around Dec. 20.
Berry had posted a total of 35 videos featuring him speaking about the progress of his growing operation, preferred soils and the variety of marijuana plants sprouting up under heat lamps and fans.
Deputies began collecting information about him, including his home address, a booking photo from a November 2010 jail stint, and a driver's license photo.
He was arrested shortly after one video showed a reflection of his on a foil-covered wall.
Berry, who used the YouTube handle "beginnergrowerktb1," said in a posting a few days after his arrest that his aunt was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.
"I'm not a drug dealer," Berry wrote in the comments section of one of his videos. "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."
In one video, Berry brags about how his U.K.-based seed supplier, Herbies seeds, "packages things stealthily to avoid detection" by mislabeling the contents, Deputy Sgt. Jay Murphy said in an affidavit.
"As you can see, it's very secretly stealth," Berry allegedly says on the Oct. 17 video. "They have it down as a video game. Awesome, right?"
But the video also shows the package has Berry's name on it, followed by the narrator opening it to reveal packages of marijuana seeds inside.
Deputies executed a search warrant at Berry's home finding the marijuana plants, a pound of loose marijuana and a variety of unknown chemicals that are being tested by the state, court records say.
Investigators with the state forensic laboratory and the Drug Enforcement Administration's Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team assisted with the search.
During an interview with investigators, Berry admitted to buying his grow equipment at a store in Manchester and ordering marijuana seeds from Herbies Seeds in the United Kingdom, Murphy said in the affidavit.
He told investigators he had been growing marijuana for about eight months.
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