Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2001

A Tonganoxie couple made their first appearance in court Wednesday, May 30, on charges of running a marijuana-growing operation.

Sheriff’s deputies find 700 marijuana plants

May 31, 2001

A Tonganoxie couple made their first appearance in court Wednesday, May 30, on charges of running a marijuana-growing operation.

Jarrod and Jackie Sommer each have been charged in Leavenworth County District Court with possession of marijuana with intent to cultivate, possession of drug paraphernalia and having no drug tax stamp.

The couple is free on bond pending their next court appearance.

The Sommers were arrested May 18 after the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department seized approximately $385,000 worth of marijuana at the couple's Tonganoxie house.

Deputies searched the house following several months of investigation into the sale and manufacuturing of drugs.

Deputies found more than 700 marijuana plants during the search. Also seized was $13,000 in cash and two handguns. The couple has not been charged with any firearms violations.

The marijuana plants have since been taken to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for testing, according to the sheriff's department.

Since the arrest, the couple's two children have been released into the custody of their grandmother.

Although the search warrant was for drugs, the extent of the couple's operation itself came as quite a surprise to officers at the scene, department officials said.

While searching an outside building, what department officials have termed a Morton building, officers found a door that led to a basement. Several rooms in the basement were being used to cultivate the marijuana plant and deputies found marijuana ready to be packaged for sale.

The operation itself included security cameras, automated timers and lights, a ventilation system, and motion sensors.

Leavenworth County Undersheriff Dave Zoellner said the operation was one of the most impressive he had seen.

"It was all very clean and well organized," Zoellner said. "It was secluded and concealed, very impressive."

At this point, investigators have no reason to believe the couple had any help in producing the marijuana, Zoellner said.

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