New Jersey Man Gets 20 Years For Growing 51 Marijuana Plants

Nicholas Tafaro was sentenced to 20 years in prison for growing 51 plants in his back yard.Nicholas Tafaro was sentenced to 20 years in prison for growing 51 plants in his back yard.A township man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Friday morning for maintaining a marijuana production facility in his Millstone River Road home.

Nicholas Tafaro, 30, had pleaded guilty to charges of operating a marijuana manufacturing facility, manufacturing marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.

Superior Court Judge Edward Coleman, sitting in Somerville, sentenced Tafaro to the sentence mandated for a first-degree crime. Tafaro, because he has a previous conviction, must serve 66 months before becoming eligible for parole.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest said at the time of Tafaro’s arrest that the charges stemmed from aerial surveillance conducted by the New Jersey National Guard with help from Hillsborough police.

As a result of the surveillance, numerous marijuana plants were seen growing in the backyard of Tafaro’s residence.

On Aug. 28, 2008, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and Hillsborough Township police conducted a search of the property where the marijuana was seen. As a result of the search, 51 marijuana plants ranging in height from 2- to 5-feet-tall were seized from a wooded area behind the residence, Forrest said.

A day later, after a search warrant was was obtained for the residence, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force and Hillsborough Police Department executed the search warrant and seized a large quantity of items used for the production of marijuana and for an indoor production facility along with approximately two pounds of harvested marijuana, according to authorities.

Items seized from the residence included high-powered lighting systems, cooling and ventilation systems and chemical fertilizers. Tafaro turned himself into authorities Sept. 21, 2008.

– Article from



  1. Anonymous on

    this is my friend and it fucking sucks

  2. Anonymous on

    This guy was a friend of mine. A life long friend who has been taken thanks to the corrupt laws that Govern this Country. Me and Nick did a lot of fun things together. I neighbor NJ because of the corrupt laws that manage the State. All laws are mandatory for a harsh sentence while the police harass the shit out of all. Nick is just one of many people that have made a sacrifice for all of us that enjoy the luxury of smoking some Chiba. He is currently in Raway Prison w/ Rapists, Child Molesters, Killers and Robbers. Just were a young 30 Yr old man belong. WTF is wrong w/ this Country? You can live in Cali and grow weed legally in NJ you can get 20 Yrs there is definitely some twisted things taken place in society today. You can go to the Bronx were men are caught every day w/ Kilos of Cocaine and weapons and they are sentenced to a much lighter sentenced. This world needs some fixxen. “DO NOT BLAME THE WEAPONS”

  3. Anonymous on

    Thats watsup.

  4. Anonymous on

    today’s headline from star ledger:

    “Drunken driver who killed Perth Amboy police officer gets 8 years in prison”

    “by Sue Epstein/The Star-Ledger
    Thursday September 17, 2009, 1:41 PM”

  5. Ganja Farmer on

    In New Jersey a girl and her boyfriend killed a baby because it would ruin there lives and got less than 2 years jail time. Marijuana does not kill, it is not a gateway drug and they give him 20 years. There are a lot of people out there like you but when they finally reach around to violating your rights as a “citizen” I hope your reaction will be the same. NJ legislators are ruining the youths life with there sub par education system, where are the arts and music in the schools. Where is the money for the teachers so that they are not working 2 and 3 jobs so when they get in their classes they are too tired for the youths so they are not able to provide guidance for them. Especially since they are with them more than their parents. Ignorance is truly bliss isn’t.

  6. Anonymous on

    Sarcasm is overrated and childish.

  7. Anonymous on

    Please send as many letters as you can to Judge Coleman objecting to Nick’s harsh, excessive sentence. He is not a violent person and has not committed a violent crime! This extreme sentence is a joke! The truth of this all is that the corrupt county had a vendetta they needed to settle and chose to target and railroad him this way.

  8. angelleek on

    if this guy’s sentencing upsets you, write a respectful letter to the judge that sentenced him.

    the honorable edward m. coleman
    20 north bridge street
    p.o. box 3000
    somerville, nj 08876-1262

    people need to speak up for those in these situations!!

  9. Anonymous on

    So there saying that growing a plant that a 5 year old could grow with out even knowing what it was is the equivelent of killing someone and worse than raping someone. So all those jokes about new Jersery being shitty are true .

    either make alchohol , tabacco , chocolate, coffee , fast food , sex and dancing illegal or legalise marijuana because your laws aren’t based on logic ,reason or reality.

    20 years in prison and hes more likley to come out of that expirence glad the laws are unjust or pissed off Have these people seen “Blow” their just making a Cocain smuggler.

    51 plants , lets assume they are all female , 2 to 5 feet outdoors so approximatley and im being generoius 300 grams per plant works out to about 33.7 lbs , theirs people caught with thousands of pounds that don’t do 20 years.

    15 kilos? I PISS 15 kilos.
    -George Jung

  10. Cory on

    Marijuana is going to be around for ever it is not going anywhere, an the government just doesn’t get it, they think that they can get rid of all the drugs an marijuana being the main one. This man got 20 years for 51 plants there are so many other people in this world that have got booked for more then 51 plants an didn’t even get that long of a sentence. He will for sure get out of prison early there is no way that they keep in in there for something that god has put on this planet.

  11. Anonymous on

    20 years in prison is almost a life sentence.We never heard so much about marijuana legalization and people being sympathetic to the weed than now…Yet stupid judges keep on giving sentences that have no common measure with the crime being committed. 20 years in prison is not very far from being beheaded or being on death row.In Malaysia or
    Cambodgia from what I have read you can be sentenced to death for being caught with small amount of cannabis.The judges excuse is always: I’m just applying the law.Those judges represent the far right of America and are not sympathetic to the cause of marijuana.When you give 20 years to someone who grew 50 plants you might as well
    condemn him to death penalty…you are not very far from the far right extremists…I wonder whether the same judge
    would have given him death should that sentence have been available and dictated by the law.
    Eddy Lepp condemned to 10 years while he should go free.
    And the list of names go on and on.
    I’m just happy that people who read this chronicle reacted to such inflammatory statements and realize something is wrong when you go all the way to the right.My friend, you can have all the web sites in the world devoted to the
    PRO-LEGALIZATION MOVEMENT and keep on writing about how upset you are about about what’s happening to this poor guy who got caught but in the END IT IS ALWAYS THE FUCKING JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE FUCKING JUDGES WHO END UP HANDING
    So before you treat others of sickos or fucking nazis
    you should learn to read between the lines and understand
    that despite appearances of an America free and liberal
    we have never been so much to the right as far as sentences
    are concerned.Nothing has changed.Prohibition has never been so healthy.I am totally revolted about this state of affairs.Please leave Einstein out of this business.

  12. Anonymous on

    number 1 first degree crime in NJ is 10-20 yrs the judge gave him the MOST time, all the other charges they run concurrent with it so he could have gave 10 but hell make parole in 5 and half years btw ppl, but your right i have friends that caught attempted murder charges and only did a year and half cause of good lawyers rapists NEVER get over 10yers even if its a kid so the system is all messed up pots illegal cause it makes more money that way in all the fines and stuff through the state everyone should watch the WEEDS documentary its on how weeed was illegalized its utter bullsh*t like seriously alcohol is far much worse for you it starts fights your never angry on pot u just relax alcohol also destroys your body and causes car accidents but hey i guess theres still stupid ppl left in the work
    JERSEY Mike

  13. Anonymous on

    the article said the judge gave the legal minimum which was 20 years. In theory, the judge could have given him less but then the prosecution could appeal the sentence and the appeals court would (in all likelihood) reverse the trial judge because a 20 year minimum sentence is the law in NJ! What needs to change are the laws against growing a plant that could literally save the world! (And those “mandatory minimum” sentences that don’t give judges the discretion to give less.)

    Private prisons have a vested interested in creating more prisoners! How do you do that when the overall violent crime rates keep dropping? You make sentences stiffer for the non-violent crimes you already have and prosecute every single infraction to the fullest extent of the law! Meanwhile, the only way you can make $$ from prisons is to feed the inmates white bread and canned meat and forget about proper medical care. If you treat prisoners like humans – you can’t make a profit!

  14. Anonymous on

    You can rape and not get 20yrs, but grow 51 plants and now you have committed a heinous crime. The mentality of our judicial system is so abhorrent. I hope for a painful demise for this judge.

  15. Alan C. on

    So…you’re ignorant as well then, is what you’re saying? Are you a cop, or? The whole tone of your fluffy post smacks of subversive propaganda.
    Richard (or, whoever else) makes a concise, valid point, and the subversive “stoners” (read: cops/prohibitionists) who’ve infiltrated this website get flustered and follow-up with ultimately, subversive comments, usually multiple, to bury the ‘relevant’ post…I’ve noticed a considerable amount of that these days. My apologies if I sound a little annoyed here, but…where is the site moderator? Alive, or? Your years of precious work will be for not if you can’t moderate (read: delete) *obvious* inflammatory rhetoric. I’m not referring to this thread in particular, but there are many other posts that I’d have deleted looong ago. Do you read the posts here, or? Get on it. That yellow drivel makes the legalization movement look unnecessarily bad. Moderate some reason into the comments on your site – be it pro, or con. Posts such as, “I crushed and snorted high-grade pharmaceutical Oxycontin, and it was bad so now I think cannabis is bad”, have no business being posted (or read, for that matter) on a *CANNABIS* website. Take that garbage to the ‘government-approved-pharmaceutical-drug-abusers’ (It’s clearly stated in the product brochure – DO NOT CRUSH AND SNORT, no? Yes.) website. I don’t want to read about some stupid, f’ing MORON who doesn’t have an *iota* of common-sense abusing highly-addictive prescription drugs…that type of ridiculous shit truly makes all cannabis-consumers look unecessarily bad, FTR. I question the motives, or at least the intelligence of some individuals.
    “Never grow in your own yard”?
    You’re kidding, right? It may not be the smartest location to grow cannabis, but it makes the most sense…and many people understandably do it.
    “If he had only been growing a couple plants they probly wouldnt have cared. because a couple plants isnt going to be that big of a story on the news.”
    That is one big fallacy that needs correcting, my friend. The persecution of every cannabis gardener, small or large, one plant or one-hundred, is still in full force at the moment. They do not turn a blind eye to having a ‘few’ plants. Law-enforcement likes to mislead the public and say, “We don’t harass/arrest/imprison *anyone* for minor possession or cultivation” (880,000 for possession in the US alone, in 2007; 50,000+ in Canada). The majority of us are aware that’s one big lie. An individual would be prosecuted for as little as a single plant, most times. Canada’s Harper-Tories would like to see a peaceful cannabis-gardener go to prison for six-months for growing a *single* cannabis-marijuana plant. It is only the fact that light is being shone on these types of injustices that the majority of people are coming to realize the folly of our current cannabis laws…these are asinine laws that deperately need changing.
    For the record, 51 plants, all in the 2-4′ range, is not a whole lot of cannabis. The fact that an individual, in 2009, would receive a 20-year prison sentence – regardless of prior conviction/s – over 51 (or, 500+ plants, for that matter) natural, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-addictive cannabis plants just floors me…it’s bloody astonishing. It amounts to gross negligence on the part of the American legal system.
    How dare anyone even consider that sentence remotely just or fair.

  16. e-loc on

    you say a man should be beheaded in public for growing plants?? you sir, are a sick man who needs help. go get it. and while you’re at it, learn how to spell, einstein

  17. Not Sure on

    im with the person who said he was wreckless and stupid.

    you never grow in your own yard. Especially 51 plants.

    if he had only been growing a couple plants they probly wouldnt have cared. because a couple plants isnt going to be that big of a story on the news.

  18. Anonymous on

    Truthful and succinct…you’ve summed up the situation quite nicely, Richard.

  19. Richard Kefalos on

    Another good day for the stockholders of the prison industry. The courts are their front-end suppliers, sending them lucrative commodities. Everyone makes money, the private prison owners, the supply and maintenance companies that service the prisons, the local people who work as prison guards – even the politicians benefit, for they get to count the prisoners as “residents” for district allocation purposes. So Tafaro didn’t stand a chance – he’s too valuable. The police and courts actively seek anyone they can charge in order to supply the punishment industry. It’s nothing but a big business where one part masquerades as a public institution, the courts.

    Business discovered during Prohibition that there is big bucks in criminalization. By cleverly fostering hysteria and playing on the ever-present Puritan streak, they have managed to get more people in prison than any other country on the planet. It’s an American business, just another American mega-business, only this one uses humans for fodder. Welcome to the Punishment Industry, the business that masks as the protector of the public welfare. Like all successful businesses, the punishment industry dispenses liberal benefits on all who support it: the lawyers and judges, the cops who get SWAT equipment for their nightly fun, the piss-testers, the hand-wringing counselors opining on gateway theories, and all the others who help keep the enterprise going. All they need is raw material, so they supply the cops with all the technical tools for the hunt, such as thermal detectors and helicopters. Every businessman knows that you get better results with good equipment, and the Punishment Industry’s hunt for its raw material is no different.

    The punishment industry is the American version of the Soviet gulag. As befits a capitalist country, our punishment industry is for the most part privately owned. The front end that gathers up the fodder is cleverly pawned off on public funds, however. Thus, the taxpayers pay for the collection of inmates for the prisons, while the profits, also from tax money, are harvested by the private prison companies and their suppliers. Not bad as scams go, huh?

    So poor Tafaro is toast. He is worth thousands of dollars to the industry and they’ll never let him go once they got their claws in him. And are we better off now? The punishment industry certainly is.

  20. Anonymous on

    Land of the GREED and Home of the SLAVE

  21. DurgaB. on

    This is insane! There are people killing people who get less time. I’m ashamed of this arse backwards country.

  22. Alan C on

    An absolute travesty of justice.

  23. Anonymous on

    Well, it’s an outrage to be sure. What a waste of a life. Does our government really believe this will correct him?

    On the other hand the guy was wreckless and stupid. This wasn’t his first offense. He played right into their hands.

  24. Anonymous on

    Apparently sarcasm is lost on this guy.

  25. Anonymous on

    Yea you fucking nazi asshole you must know the guy if you know hes corrupting your youth maybe if you knew your own children and they trusted you and you didnt have such a hateful attitude with what their expermenting with then they could trust in you to help but no no no lets behead someone cause your very immature and against personal freedom I hope you get aids very soon FUCK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous on

    What fucking bullshit. He shouldn’t be spending a day in jail, let alone 20 fucking years! I don’t know how these judges like this can live with themselves, a bunch of self righteous ignorant assholes. Putting a man behind bars for nearly half his life for the “crime” of growing a few plants and they call this justice. W-T-F!

  27. Anonymous on

    People like him who corrupt the NJ youth should be beheaded in public as an exemple. Obama should toughen marijuana laws in this state.

  28. Anonymous on

    Holy Crap…..20 years???? Well as we can all see, we have another life ruined because of marijuana LAWS…. not from marijuana itself, but from the stupid laws….wake the fuck up gov.
    This is so wrong, so very wrong…..makes me want to go down to the liquor store and buy a bunch of booze and get silly, stupid drunk (cause that’s legal)….but I don’t do that, I will just puff on a doobie and ponder this matter some more (ILLEGAL), maybe eat some dorito’s too!

    legalize it and tax it….NOW!

  29. Christos on

    i hope the people that helped put this man away burn in hell for eternity

  30. Anonymous on

    What we have to do is invest in some SAMS to take out this type of spying on the AMERICAN people. Once we as a people start this, they will stop this nonsense. The gov-(notice I said gov, not my Gov, but the shadow gov) is making tremendous amounts of money off this Weed. That is why they fight legalization. It’s simple, Follow the money trail. Note: Do we really think that only Mexicans have black hearts for money? The same people who smile at us are our enemies. The keepers of the law make billions also. How the fuck else is the grass getting here except that the DEA and the CIA allows it to come into our country. Then they arrest us and imprison us and ask the (gov) for more money to do the same. I’m fed 🙂 up with these type of treasonous actions by those in power!
    Oh yeah N.J. is my neighbor.

  31. Worm on

    The land of the freeeeee and the home of the prisons.


    Peace and Pot

  32. jrgreenmind on

    NJ is so backwards.I hope the laws change.20 Years for 51 plants is an outrage!the nj chapter of NORMAL better wake up.