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Deer Park man accused of growing pot

St. Croix County prosecutors claim a rural Deer Park man, spooked that a utility worker might have noticed his alleged marijuana growing operation, ditched more than five pounds of pot he grew, which authorities confiscated after he led them to the site.

The suspect, 61-year-old David J. Carroll, was  charged Thursday, May 5, with one count of manufacturing THC, a felony. He makes his first appearance on the allegations on July 7 in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

According to a criminal complaint:

A St. Croix County sheriff’s deputy went to Carroll’s town of Cylon home on Nov. 5, 2015, to check out a complaint about drugs at the house.

Carroll allowed the deputy to enter and look around. They went to the basement, where the deputy spotted a distinct venting system, large lights and multiple five-gallon buckets connected by hosing.

The deputy reported that the setup was consistent with a hydroponic growing operation, though Carroll initially told him the room was used to grow tomato plants.

Next, they went to the basement laundry room, where the deputy saw shelves full of chemicals used to grow plants and one bottle commonly used in hydroponic marijuana operations. Additional apparatus for growing plants was also found in the room.

After first denying drug use occurred in the house, Carroll admitted to using pot once the officer concluded aloud that the materials constituted a marijuana growing operation. Carroll said he had a small amount of pot in his freezer and told the officer he used to grow it “a long time ago.”

Further exploration of the basement led to a room containing a black tent lined with reflective material. Inside the tent were heat lamps, fans, buckets and a box labeled “MagicButter.com.”

“It should be noted that I recognized this device to be a device used to make THC butter,” the deputy wrote in the charging document.

An adjoining room -- the entrance to which was covered with a suspended sleeping bag -- was lined reflective material and contained a large “growing-style light.” Suspected marijuana plant material was found inside that room.

Carroll took the deputy to a freezer that he said contained pot and pulled out three bags -- the contents of which later tested positive for THC.

He told the officer that each bag contained a different kind of pot that gave him a “different-style high” -- one for the morning, one for midday and another for the evening. Carroll later said he used pot in place of prescription medication to treat his medical issues.

Another bag of pot was found in the house, along with suspected drug paraphernalia.

Carroll told the officer he hadn’t grown pot in about six weeks, but initially declined to say where the marijuana was. He later admitted that a utility worker had come to the house to replace a phone line and appeared angry with Carroll.

“David stated that he was not sure why the utility worker was angry, but that he believed that the utility worker observed his marijuana grow operation, and was going to report it,” the complaint states.

Carroll told the officer he dismantled his growing operation in the subsequent week, collected the materials in nine bags and pitched them into a ditch at 222nd Avenue and Lagoon Drive.

Together, the officer and Carroll drove to the location, where the bags remained.

A search of the bags turned 44 sealable bags totaling 5.24 pounds of suspected pot. Four more bags were found to contain about 1.5 ounces of a brown substance suspected to be THC concentrate.

Plant material and other suspected growing materials were also located in the bags.

The deputy noted in the complaint that Carroll was “very cooperative” during the incident and was not arrested afterward. He has no prior criminal history.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

(715) 426-1072
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