Greenlee County Sheriff's Office

A large number of marijuana plants, along with numerous peyote plants, were confiscated by the Greenlee County Task Force during a raid on a Clifton home Nov. 27.

According to Greenlee County Sheriff’s deputy and task force leader Jason Monjaras, four members of a family were taken into custody when officers served a search warrant on the residence on Park Avenue.

Arrested were Dennis Nofchissey and his wife, Manuela, both 60, and their sons, Michael Nofchissey, 27, and Jimmy Nofchissey, 21.

Monjaras said that also arrested, although not on drug charges, was the Nofchisseys’ daughter, Denise Ramirez, 41, also of Clifton.

Monjaras said a Sheriff’s deputy received a tip about the drug activity in the Nofchissey home and passed the information to the task force.

Officers found 22 marijuana plants growing in the basement of the Nofchissey home. Monjaras said jars of marijuana that had been prepared for sale were also found in the living area of the residence.

Meanwhile, upstairs were several peyote plants, some of which were being grown, while others were being dried out. Peyote, a small spineless cactus, contains the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. It is used by some southwestern Native American tribes as part of a religious ceremony. It is most prevalent among tribes in Texas and Mexico but is also used by some members of the Navajo Nation.

Monjaras said Dennis Nofchissey, a Navajo, told officers he was growing it for religious purposes and has a right to possess the peyote.

The task force leader said that Nofchissey is supposed to have some documentation, “like a card” medical marijuana users are required to carry, and the man did not have such documentation.

“It’ll be something for the lawyers to figure out,” Monjaras said.

The marijuana in the jars had not yet been weighed as of the Copper Era's going to press, and the number of peyote plants was still undetermined, he said.

Dennis and Manuela Nofchissey are each charged with possession of peyote, possession of marijuana, marijuana for sale, production of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Their bond is set at $5,000 each.

Jimmy and Michael Nofchissey are each charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jimmy was also wanted on a Greenlee County Superior Court warrant. Their bail is set at $500 each.

According to Monjaras, the Nofchisseys’ daughter, Denise, arrived at her parents’ home as it was being raided. She reportedly became loud and verbally abusive and refused to leave the scene when ordered to by officers. She is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, obstructing a criminal investigation, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Her bail is set at $5,000.

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