Reporting Reg Chapman
HASTINGS (WCCO) – The Dakota County Drug Task Force made a historic marijuana bust in Inver Grove Heights Wednesday — confiscating over 400 pounds of pot.
According to the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, four people have been charged with felonies in connection to the pot bust: Scott Bradley Cunningham, 42, of Inver Grove Heights, 52-year-old Brian Lee Speldrick, Holly Joann Swenson, 28, of Rosemount and Jerilyn Reis, 41, of Kiester. They were all charged with first-degree controlled substance crime with intent to distribute and first-degree controlled substance crime with possession.
According to the criminal complaint, drug task force agents executed a search warrant at Cunningham’s house at 9244 Inver Grove Trail in Inver Grove Heights on Nov. 4, 2011. While there, agents recovered 14.42 pounds of marijuana. Several guns were also seized.
On Nov. 28, agents received a call from an anonymous tipster, who stated that agents missed a secret room during the previous pot bust. The tipster said the room, concealed by a false wall, contained a large amount of pot.
Agents then drafted a second search warrant and, on Nov. 30, executed the warrant. There, agents located the secret room in the lower level of the residence. Inside the room, agents discovered 72 30-gallon Rubbermaid containers filled with marijuana. The containers were stacked, in some cases, to the ceiling.
Authorities estimate the street value of the marijuana to be more than $1,000,000.
“This is one of the largest marijuana seizures in Dakota County’s history,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Last year, Dakota County Drug Task Force seized 47 pounds of marijuana for the entire year.
Neighbors who did not want to appear on camera told WCCO-TV they noticed a lot of cars coming to the Cunningham property and leaving after about five minutes.
Neighbors say they never would have imagined that Cunningham would be accused of this crime.
Backstrom saidhe does have information that the individuals involved were actually growing marijuana at another location in Goodhue County. So, he believes additional charges are likely.
Cunningham, Speldrick and Swenson appeared in court Friday, and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Reis.
If convicted, the defendants could face seven to 30 years in prison per charge.