Fraud investigation finds pot grow

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010

When police investigated a series of forged checks, they found and dismantled a 31-plant marijuana grow.

"It's kind of like throwing a rock into a pond," Soldotna Police Department Sgt. Duane Kant said. "We have the original arrest, and the investigation gets wider and wider."

Late last month, SPD arrested David W. Henry, of Nikiski, for an alleged fraudulent check scheme that involved at least $7,000 of merchandise, including a 2005 Polaris Scrambler 500 four-wheeler.

Following the arrest, police executed a search warrant at the Island Lake Road residence in Nikiski, where Henry, 36, previously lived.

Inside, police found 31 pot plants.

Police forwarded charges to the district attorney and have not yet made any arrests stemming from the plant grow, according to Inv. Johnny Whitehead.

Police also discovered two stolen firearms and a stolen motorhome, in addition to merchandise allegedly purchased with the fake checks.

Henry allegedly coordinated a fake check heist that targeted Radio Shack, Computer Renaissance, A-1 Enterprises, M&M Supermarket, Fred Meyer and Alaska Industrial Hardware during September, according to SPD.

In a separate Oct. 8 investigation, police found the four-wheeler allegedly purchased with one of Henry's forged checks. Officers discovered the vehicle on Green Lane near Soldotna, according to police.

That's where they found and arrested James M. Cook, 40, who had a number of warrants out for his arrest.

Cook was not connected to the forgery, Whitehead said, but he happened to be hiding at the home that purchased Henry's allegedly stolen ATV.

"It's just the wrong place, wrong time," Whitehead said.

Police also arrested Bree M. Whitaker, 37 of Soldotna, for lying about Cook's identity.

The forged check investigation is ongoing.

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com.



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