Four arrested in Hubbard County drug bust
Seven state, federal and local law enforcement agencies shut down a major hydroponic marijuana growing operation in Hubbard County Monday morning, making four arrests.
The lengthy investigation culminated in the arrests of James Bernard Young, 67, Talora Ann Smith, 62, who were the property residents; Tyler Charles Englund, 47, of Park Rapids and Molly Rose Riewer, 22 , of Osage.
The four are in custody at the Hubbard County Correctional Center awaiting the filing of formal drug possession charges.
Authorities seized 97 marijuana plants growing in a side building of the home on the Hubbard County line near Two Inlets; they also located the remains of 402 harvested marijuana plants found on the grounds.
And during the raid, evidence of a lab was found on the property. Officers also seized chemicals, grow lights, humidifiers, ventilation systems, heat sources, timers and transformers.
"This was an elaborate grow lab, one of the better I've seen," said Hubbard County Sheriff Frank Homer. "We were happy to be able to take this product off the street."
Besides the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department, the Becker County Sheriff's department, West Central Minnesota Task Force, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Safe Trails Drug Task Force, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration participated in the raid. The plants were in various stages of growth. Some processed pot was also seized.
All four defendants were charged late Tuesday with a single count of Third Degree Controlled Substance. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years and/or a $250,000 fine upon conviction.
According to the criminal complaint, Englund, who has prior drug convictions in 1993, 1995 and 2007, told authorities Young hired him to "take care of the grow operation." Young is a convicted felon, having been convicted of drug trafficking in 2002.
Englund indicated he was paid $2,000 a month. Englund said he set up a magnetic alarm system in the driveway of the Arago Township home that would alert the residents to the presence of any vehicles entering the property.