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Former police commissioner Lowry arrested in Illinois

Stopped on I-80 with 900 pounds of marijuana in truck

JIM LOWRY of Wolfeboro was arrested March 27 on Interstate 80 in Illinois with a pickup truck carrying 900 pounds of marijuana stuffed in 20 duffel bags. He faces 12 to 60 years in Illinois prison for cannabis trafficking. Courtesy Photo. (click for larger version)
April 29, 2009
WOLFEBORO — Former Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Jim Lowry, age 52, is behind bars in the Henry County Jail in Cambridge, Ill., facing 12 to 60 years in prison on state charges of Class X cannabis trafficking, Class X manufacture/delivery of cannabis and Class 1 possession of cannabis.

Illinois State Police Sgt. Floyd Blanks, a drug interdiction specialist, arrested Lowry on March 27 driving eastbound on Interstate 80 between Geneseo and Atkinson in a pickup truck carrying 900 pounds of marijuana with an estimated Midwest street value of $2.25 million.

Lowry was traveling on a stretch of highway known to police as a major thoroughfare for illegal drugs being shipped east from the West Coast. Henry County has one of the highest rates of drug arrests in the state of Illinois.

At an April 22 preliminary hearing, Blanks told Judge Jeffrey O'Connor of the Henry County Circuit Court that he pulled the pickup over after clocking a speed on radar of 70 mph in a 65 mph zone. The officer also testified that the registration sticker was torn, making it appear that the New Hampshire license plate could have expired.

Blanks stated that he could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the back of the pickup even before he reached the driver's side door. The marijuana was contained in 20 large duffel bags under cargo blankets with a golf bag, two sets of skis and at least one pair of snowshoes on top.

The officer testified that Lowry said during the traffic stop that he was coming from Iowa, but later said he was returning from Colorado, where he had been on a ski trip.

Lowry's passenger, Lillian Houghton, age 71, of Cold Spring, N.Y., was released. The judge found no probable cause to hold her.

Bail was set at $500,000. O'Connor found that amount "inherently reasonable" when asked by Lowry's lawyers to reduce it at an April 22 bond hearing, following the preliminary hearing earlier that day.

A motion to suppress has been filed by Lowry's lawyers, Mike Bianucci and William Murphy, to be heard in the Henry County Circuit Court on May 20.

District # 7 Illinois State Police Safety Education Officer Jason Wilson says that Lowry will remain in a state correctional facility until his trial, and if found guilty, will serve his time in the state.

Lowry is currently a Supervisor of the Checklist in Wolfeboro and is also a justice of the peace. He served on the Wolfeboro Police Commission from 1999 to 2005. At the time of his arrest, Lowry had no criminal record.

Wolfeboro police were informed of the arrest, but it was not until Lowry was arraigned on April 22 that the facts of the case became public. Molly Leone, who served with Lowry on the police commission, declined to comment on the case. Joe Melanson, who also served on the commission with Lowry, had not returned calls by press time on April 29.

Martin Lord Osman
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