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Jul 18, 2012 12:15 PM

New details on hallucinogenic mushroom growing operation released

TUCSON - Tucson Police have released new details and photos of the bust of a grow operation for psilocybin mushrooms, and new, unconfirmed information on the suspect's criminal history has come to light.

On July 16, the Tucson Counter Narcotics Alliance acted on an 88-CRIME tip of suspected narcotics activity at an apartment in the 2500 block of East La Madera Drive, near Craigin Elementary School, according to a TPD news release. Contact was made with an uncooperative man, and police obtained a search warrant.

Inside, police found the majority of one small bedroom had been converted into a grow house for hallucinogenic mushrooms, the news release states. Police found 290 mason jars containing "biomass," which, when planted in soil, could yield tens of pounds of mushrooms. Police also found chemicals and equipment used for growing and cultivating the drug.

Joshua Bortnick, 41, was arrested and booked into Pima County Jail on one count of Manufacturing a Dangerous Drug.

According to a news report on OregonLive, Bortnick was busted in Portland, Oregon in 2008, again with about 300 mason jars containing growth from spores for psilocybin mushrooms.

Also, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, in 2001, a 29-year-old pilot named Joshua Bortnick was accused of transporting 150 pounds of marijuana from Tucson to Ohio in a small plane when deputies found the drugs in his plane after he made an emergency landing at a Texas airstrip.

News 4 Tucson is working to confirm the information in these news reports.

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