B’Way Man Indicted On Pot Charges

Police Say Excessive Power Usage Led To Home Search

Posted: May 21, 2014

HARRISONBURG — A Rockingham County grand jury has indicted a Broadway man on drug charges stemming from a search of his home in October.

The indictment, handed down Monday, charges Jonas Diener, 36, with felony distribution of marijuana and felony drug possession. Following his indictment, Diener appeared in Rockingham County Circuit Court.

Judge T.J. Wilson scheduled him to appear in court for a plea hearing on June 23.

The investigation started in October when the RUSH Drug Task Force received a tip that the home Diener was living in was using eight times the amount of electricity a typical residence would use.

On Oct. 16, police say, officers raided the home at 16991 Runions Creek Road thinking they were going to find a marijuana-growing operation. Excessive power usage is often found at so-called “grow houses,” where high-powered lamps are used to nurture marijuana plants.

Officers did find some marijuana, but the most notable find, they said, was a “shocking” array of computers. Sheriff deputies said it was a large network of computing devices, a system they described as the type found at a large university research lab or at some financial-services companies.

Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were called to the home to investigate the computer system for any illicit activity. But it’s unclear if police believe any particular crime was carried out with the computers found in the home and no charges have been filed in connection with the computer equipment.

During a bond hearing in the case, Diener’s defense attorneys claimed the computers were nothing more than a hobby and were not tied to any criminal activity.

In 2010, Diener was found with about a half-pound of pot in his filing cabinet at Rosetta Stone’s Harrisonburg office, where he worked at the time. He was charged with felony distribution of marijuana in that case, but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and Diener was ordered to serve 20 days in jail.

He is free from Rockingham County Jail on a $25,000 bond on the recent charges.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com

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