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Man pleads to drug sale charge for marijuana growing operation

WILLMAR -- A 31-year-old New London man pleaded guilty Thursday to a fifth-degree drug sale charge for running a marijuana growing operation in the basement of a home on North Long Lake.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, two additional fifth-degree drug possession charges against Marc Alan Gau-quie will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Oct. 5.

The charges were filed after CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents executed a search warrant on the home April 22 and found a total of 336 marijuana plants in the basement of the home with grow lights, ventilation fans, humidity control equipment and other indoor growing items.

Also found in the home were catalogs for hydroponic growing and electrical wiring, literature on growing marijuana, plus equipment for harvesting and packaging marijuana.

Agents also found a total of 169.1 grams of marijuana, plus nine and one-half Adderall pills.

The drug is a Schedule II narcotic and contains amphetamine.

The complaint states that law enforcement officials had compared the electrical usage of the home, plus two other nearby homes.

They found that the other homes used between 600 and 800 kilowatts of power a month while the home with the grow operation used between 1,400 to 2,800 kilowatts per month.

A neighbor had suspected that there was a growing operation at the home because most of the home's windows were covered and the open windows released a strong smell of marijuana and moisture-laden air. Neighbors had also observed a man coming and going from the home, but never outside.

The man was identified as Gauquie through his Department of Motor Vehicles photo.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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