More than 1,100 cultivated marijuana plants were seized Thursday at a grow operation near Galatia, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said. Arthur Kronenberg, 32, of Olmitz, was arrested at the scene.
The discovery of the plants started with someone who was lost knocking on Kronenberg’s door, Bellendir said.
“They needed to contact someone but they had the wrong address,” he said. “They went to the door and saw this.” That person contacted the Barton County Sheriff’s Office late Thursday morning and reported the plants were in plain sight.
“It was well off of the blacktop, very isolated,” Bellendir said. Other than that, not much effort had gone into hiding the operation. “He actually had some plants sitting outside.”
BCSO quickly obtained a search warrant which was issued at 1 p.m. in the 700 block of NW 200 Road. Deputies seized approximately 1,146 plants, ranging from seedlings to mature plants, as well as cultivation supplies, irrigation equipment and other equipment.
Kronenberg surrendered without incident and was booked into the Barton County Jail on charges of cultivation and distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and no drug tax stamp. He is being held in lieu of $300,000 bond.
“This is the first grow operation we’ve had in a long time,” Bellendir said. “We typically don’t see grow operations anymore since Colorado legalized weed.”
The sheriff said some of the plants will be sent to a lab for analysis, but possession of THC — that is, tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound in marijuana that causes a euphoric “high” — is a crime in Kansas regardless of the strength.
“We’ll probably destroy most of it after it is photographed,” he said.