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Russian Living in Stamford Charged in Mushroom Bust

Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin said the man was allegedly involved in a large, sophisticated grow operation.

Stamford Police have officially charged a 43-year-old Russian national in an allegedly elaborate but young mushroom growing operation, Capt. Richard Conklin said Thursday night.

According to Conklin, Dimitri Taranov, of the first block of Stanwick Place, was arrested Thursay on charges stemming from an incident on March 29 earlier this year.

Neighborhood Impact Unit officers went to Taranov's Stanwick Place home in March to arrest him on charges of failure to respond to an infraction, according to Conklin. He said Taranov was ready to come peacefully, but asked officers to allow him to grab his jacket.

Conklin said officers followed him into the next room, where a large quantity of marijuana was sitting on a table. Conklin also said officers also took note of what he called "evidence of a large grow operation," and called for the Narcotics & Organized Crime Unit to respond to the house.

After obtaining a warrant, Conklin said the drug-sniffing canines and the Narcotics & Organized Crime Unit allegedly discovered a large, sophisticated mushroom fertalization operation on most of the first-floor of the house. According to Conklin, officers allegedly found pressure cookers, mason jars and additonal hardware in addition to more than 800 pounds of rye grain, into which mushroom spores are injected.

The alleged operation was fairly new, Conklin said, and because of the infancy of the project, had to be sent to a lab for testing to confirm the hallucinogen-growing nature of the lab, which led to the delay from March to present.

At the time, Taranov was charged with the failure to respond to an infraction, possession of marijuana and possession with intent to sell. Now, Taranov also faces charges of illegal manufacturing or cultivation of hallucinogens with intent to sell and manufacturing of a controlled substance.

Taranov turned himself into authorities on these latest charges and is currently being heldon a $500,000 bond.

Conklin said in cases like this, often times the department will seek to take possession of the house through asset forfeiture. In this instance, Taranov owes more than the house is worth, making the acquisition not worth the department's time.

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