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Smell of marijuana leads police to expansive growing operation; two arrested

BEMIDJI - The overwhelming smell emanating from 85 marijuana plants and nearly a half-pound of the drug tipped off a Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy to an extensive grow operation Tuesday night.

Gary Pederson, Commander of the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, said the pair who were arrested did not appear to be actively dealing marijuana, but that the home had been "tangentially on our radar.

"A task force officer had heard information about this place in the past, but had not been able to develop enough probable cause to get a search warrant," Pederson said. "It was a very good piece of police work by our deputy." The deputy went to the home, at 420 Adams Ave. NW, Tuesday afternoon to serve civil process papers to William Tanner Taylor, 29.

After being served the papers, Tanner appeared nervous and quickly closed the door, according to the criminal complaint filed Thursday.

The deputy, who smelled the marijuana when Tanner opened the door, applied for, and was granted a search warrant for the home. Police executed the warrant at 10:30 p.m., resulting in the arrests of Tanner and Nicole Louise Deeter, 42. Inside the home, they found an expansive growing operation.

The two were booked on felony charges of fifth degree cultivation of marijuana and neglect or endangerment of a child.

Two children were taken into protective custody by social services.

The operation extended throughout the home, according to the complaint. Several large grow lamps, 47 mature and 39 juvenile plants, and 200 grams of processed marijuana were seized in the raid.

Pederson said the marijuana was of a high quality, but hesitated to estimate a street value.

"It can range in value anywhere from $1,500 a pound to $5,000," Pederson said. "I'd say this stuff was worth several hundred dollars per plant at least."

Pederson said it's possible that the plants were grown from seeds ordered from abroad, because of the high quality of marijuana they produced.

"Seeds can be genetically engineered for latitude, longitude, climate, rain fall and so on," Pederson said. "It was very good quality marijuana."

Tanner has a criminal history in the state of Minnesota dating back to 2001. It includes felony charges of second degree burglary and fifth degree assault, and gross misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession and forgery. Deeter has a criminal history that reaches only the misdemeanor level, according to court records.

Bond was set at $10,000 for both Tanner and Deeter. They remained in custody Thursday night.

While not the largest bust in the area, Pederson said Tuesday night's raid was noteworthy.

"The fact that it was this close to town and that it was a good quality of marijuana makes it very significant," he said.

Two people were arrested after police raided the home of an alleged marijuana growing operation.

The Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Blackduck Police and the Minnesota State Patrol conducted the raid, according to information released Wednesday.

William Taylor Tanner, 29 and Nicole Louise Deeter, 42, were booked into the Beltrami County Jail on charges of felony fifth degree drug possession and felony neglect or endangerment of a child.

Two children were taken into protective custody, according to police.

Police went to the home, at 420 Adams Ave. NW, to serve a civil service document. According to a release, the Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy who responded to the home "obtained information that led to the execution of a search warrant."

The home was raided just after 8 p.m. Tuesday, resulting in the seizure of 85 plants and an estimated pound of processed marijuana.

Tanner and Deeter are expected to be arraigned on the charges Thursday in Beltrami County District Court.