It looks like the troubles facing 49-year-old Johnston firefighter David Lashus are only beginning. Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said yesterday that he is in the process of finding the proper protocol to suspend Lashus without pay after Lashus and his 21-year-old son Aaron were charged with five felonies last Friday, after the younger Lashus reportedly accepted a package from California containing eight pounds of high-grade marijuana.
Although he has been off the job for about three years, Polisena said Lashus is still an employee of the town’s fire department and he and Town Solicitor Billy Conley are making sure that they do all the personnel paperwork and follow proper procedure to insure that Lashus get no more compensation from the town.
“He’s been collecting his base salary, tax-free, for three years and I want to make sure that the taxpayers get justice,” said Polisena. “I know we say that someone is innocent until proven guilty, and that’s the way it is in this country whether you like it or not, but if it’s (the allegations) true, I’m just disgusted.”
According to the State Police, California authorities intercepted the package in their state and then forwarded the package to undercover Rhode Island State Police officers. They, in turn, delivered the package to the Plainfield Street home of the two men. The younger Lashus was arrested immediately. David Lashus was arrested when police discovered over more than marijuana plants, drying racks and about 15 pounds of packaged marijuana on the premises.
State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell reported that David Lashus had a valid medical marijuana caregiver’s card, which allows him to possess a maximum number of 24 mature marijuana plants, 12 seedlings and five ounces of usable marijuana, well below the quantities they said were on the premises.
State Police also said they found an ounce of hallucinogenic mushrooms, two semi-automatic rifles, a shotgun, three handguns and nearly $8,000 in cash.
We were still awaiting word at press time from the Rhode Island Department of Health and the State Police about any penalties associated with possessing and growing more marijuana than medical marijuana regulations allow.
Aaron Lashus is out on bail. David Lashus has been released on $25,000 surety bail and home confinement after his attorney told the court he suffered from sleep apnea and diabetes, in addition to the back injury that got him medical leave from the Johnston Fire Department.
“What ever we do, I want to make sure it doesn’t rebound on us,” said Polisena. “We are making sure we dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the ‘t’s. We owe that to the taxpayers of Johnston.”