CLINTON, Mass. — Three members of a family and a fourth person have been arrested for allegedly using a legitimate plumbing business as a front for a $6 million marijuana growing operation.

Federal prosecutors say 60-year-old Charles Laverty, his 61-year-old wife Andrea, and their 37-year-old son Thomas are charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Police say they found more than 1,000 plants at Laverty & Son Plumbing in Clinton and at the family’s Millbury home.

Prosecutors say they used the proceeds from the marijuana operation to pay private school tuition and to make payments on multiple vehicles.

Charles Laverty, who remains free following his Tuesday arrest, says he and his son have medical marijuana cards and they were growing pot for study because they want to open a dispensary.

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