Domestic violence call leads troopers to large grow operation

Kasilof pot bust nets 155 plants

Posted: Friday, April 20, 2001

Alaska State Troopers found more than they had expected when they answered a domestic violence call in Clam Gulch.

At about 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday, troopers received a 911 telephone call from a Clam Gulch woman reporting that her boyfriend, whom troopers identified as Kevin Wayne Dell, 41, of Clam Gulch, was abusing her verbally and she wanted trooper assistance. The call led to seizure of marijuana that could be worth $160,000 on the street, said trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson.

Dell was arrested and charged with four counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance. He also was charged with one count of second-degree misconduct involving weapons for possessing firearms during the commission of misconduct with a controlled substance.

He was lodged at Wildwood Pretrial Facility on $5,000 cash/corporate bail.

According to court documents, when troopers arrived at the home the woman shares with Dell near Mile 115 Sterling Highway, she told them Dell had been growing marijuana in a quonset hut on the property for at least two years. She led them to the hut, where they found a commercial growing operation. According to court documents, Dell told troopers he was growing marijuana to sell.

Troopers brought in Soldotna members of their statewide drug enforcement team who seized 155 marijuana plants, 660 grams of processed marijuana, six high-intensity light systems, a triple-beam scale, a case of zip-lock bags, other growing equipment and 13 firearms, of which 10 were loaded.

Jeff Laughlin, an investigator with the troopers' statewide drug enforcement unit, estimated the value of the lights and growing equipment at $6,000 to $8,000. He valued the guns, which included a handgun, three shotguns and nine rifles, at $200 to $300 each, for a total of $2,600 to $3,900. The guns were in the marijuana growing area, he said.

Wilkinson said a full-grown marijuana plant can yield marijuana worth $1,000 on the street, so Dell's plants, which Wilkinson said looked fairly mature, could be worth up to $155,000. Processed marijuana currently sells for about $10 per gram, he said, so Dell's 660 grams could be worth $6,600.

However, Laughlin said he could not give an accurate value for the living plants until they are dried and weighed.

Second-degree misconduct involving weapons is a Class B felony subject to a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $50,000. Fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance is a Class C felony subject to a prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to $50,000.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for April 27 at 3:30 p.m. if Dell still is in state custody, or May 8 at 3:30 p.m. if he is not in state custody. Dell was appointed a public defender.

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