Ocracoke man indicted for growing marijuana on national seashore

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, July 10, 2018

An Ocracoke man has been indicted on federal charges of cultivating marijuana on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

James Daniel Garrish III was arrested following a May 2 indictment in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. In addition to the marijuana cultivation charges, Garrish is also charged with introducing plants into the park ecosystem, littering, trespassing and defacing and damaging real property, according to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted of the cultivation charge, Garrish faces a maximum term of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a term of up to three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment.  Each of the additional charges carries up to six months’ imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, up to one-year supervised release, and/or up to 5 years’ probation.

The suspected marijuana was found in an area of the seashore called Quork Hammock on the soundside on Ocracoke Island, authorities said.

“Criminal acts which blemish the beauty of our public seashore and the safety of its visitors will not be ignored,” said Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. District Attorney for Eastern District of North Carolina.

The National Park Service is investigating the case.