Former fire chief pleads guilty to marijuana charge
By Patrick Yost
Former Buckhead Volunteer Fire Chief Tom Prochnow pled guilty last Wednesday, October 26 to one count manufacture of marijuana and one count possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Prochnow made his plea before Superior Court Judge Hugh V. Wingfield III. Judge Wingfield sentenced Prochnow to seven years on the manufacture of marijuana charge and five years on the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon charge. Both sentences will run concurrent and both can be served on probation. Prochnow was also fined $1,000, ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and was ordered to submit to random drug screening. If he satisfies all the requirements of his sentencing, he may be eligible to complete his sentence in five years.
According to Ocmulgee Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Alison Burleson, an accusation was filed against Prochnow on October 17, 2008.
Prochnow, 55, was arrested on September 6, 2007 after a Georgia State Patrol helicopter flew over his Swords Road farm and spotted a marijuana plant growing on the property. “It appeared to be growing for personal use,” Burleson said.
When deputies arrived they located a rifle, a shotgun and a pistol on the property. Burleson said Prochnow had been convicted on a federal marijuana manufacturing charge more than 20 years ago.
At the time of his arrest Prochnow was serving as the Buckhead Volunteer Fire chief. Within a month following the arrest he resigned his post with the department.