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Suspected Hudson pot-growing operation busted

Taylor Moening1 / 2
St. Croix County sheriff's officials said these plants were part of a marijuana growing operation busted last month in Hudson. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Four men were charged last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court after an alleged marijuana-growing operation was discovered in the town of Hudson house they rented.

St. Croix County prosecutors charged Hudson resident Taylor J. Moening, 24, River Falls resident Menco Y. Grigsby, 23, and Cottage Grove, Minn., residents Marcus D. Coleman, 22, and 21-year-old Dylan S. Smallidge, with charges of manufacturing THC and maintaining a drug residence.

According to a criminal complaint:

Authorities from the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Feb. 19 at 933 Carter Circle in the town of Hudson.

A large growing operation was found in the basement containing 28 pot plants. Coleman, Moening and Grigsby were all arrested on the scene.

In an interview with investigators, Coleman said all four men rented rooms at the house, which he said is owned by Moening’s father.

Moening admitted in a jailhouse interview with authorities that he was a regular pot smoker, but denied any drug dealing. He told investigators that Smallidge, Grigsby and Coleman all participated in the grow operation.

He later admitted to more.

“Moening stated that they all participated in the planting and the setting up of the grow,” the complaint states. “Moening also stated that they shared the expenses of the grow and advised that the grow lights were purchased off Craigslist. Moening stated the grow started out as a project and evolved into what we discovered today.”

Coleman told police that Smallidge and Moening were “middling” marijuana to people who would come to the house. Coleman said he was aware of the grow operation in the basement, but only smoked it. He said a UW-River Falls student named “Eli” was tending to the grow.

Grigsby, who lived in the basement, also admitted to investigators that he smoked pot. Though he admitted to being in the grow room, he denied involvement in the operation or any sale of the marijuana.

In addition to pot plants found in the basement, investigators turned up suspected marijuana in the living room.

Glass bongs were found in a room containing Moening’s military identification, along with a digital scale, spent roaches and plastic baggies. Investigators also discovered needles and four bottles of steroids in Moening’s room, according to an evidence report.

All four men were released from St. Croix County jail after posting cash bonds. Preliminary hearings in all four cases were held Tuesday, March 1.

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

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