Marijuana charges laid against Crime Stoppers president

The Windsor-Essex County Crime Stoppers quickly terminate its president after the OPP lay marijuana-related charges against him.

Jon-Paul Fuller, 44, was only recently named president before this week's charges

OPP charge president of Windsor & Essex County Crime Stoppers president Jon-Paul Fuller with drug-related charges. (File Photo)

The Windsor & Essex County Crime Stoppers moved quickly to terminate its president after he was charged in connection with an alleged marijuana grow operation in Leamington.

During an emergency board meeting Thursday afternoon Jon-Paul Fuller was removed from the board and ousted as president.

The sudden decision came after the OPP arrested and charged Fuller, 44, with production of marijuana and possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. Another 53-year-old Leamington man was also charged.

Police seized 2,900 pot plants worth an estimated $2.9 million, according to an OPP announcement on Friday​. They also found 41 kilograms of harvested marijuana, according to the OPP.

Former president Charlie Hotham has been reinstated as head of the region's Crime Stoppers for an undetermined amount of time. Hotham said it was important for the board to take swift action against someone "who obviously felt they were above the law."

"I was dumbfounded. I was shocked. It was disbelief, not just by me, it was disbelief by the entire board," he said.

Fuller was president for just a few months before the OPP laid charges. Investigators executed a search warrant Wednesday morning at a home at 1935 Fox Run Rd. in Leamington.

Financial audit being conducted

In order to be fully transparent, Crime Stoppers board members also agreed to conduct a financial audit for the period of time Fuller was with the organization. Hotham is confident nothing is missing because there are safeguards in place such as requiring two people to sign cheques.

Board members say they want to ensure it continues to get respect from the community.

"We have an award-winning program. We have won awards every year for the past several years for our program and good work that we do in our community in solving crime," Hotham said.

An extensive interview process and police clearance was also done before Fuller got the job, but "this came out of nowhere" and "people sometimes go awry," Hotham said.

The charges have not been proven at this time. Both men will appear in court November 17.