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More Charges Possible In Leola Pot Bust

February 7, 2012, 6:07 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

More Charges Possible In Leola Pot Bust
LEOLA, SD - There could be serious charges handed down surrounding the marijuana-growing operation law enforcement found in Leola last week.

McPherson County Sheriff Dave Ackerman hopes the arrest of the man accused of operating it puts a dent in the supply of pot in the area.

"I'd like to think so, I really would. We don't know for sure if the distribution was locally or if it was being taken outside of the country. But I'd like to think it will," Ackerman said.

A tip from a sheriff in a nearby county started the investigation into the operation a year ago, which led to the arrest of a 53-year-old man at the end of last week. It involved a lot of collaboration from multiple agencies and still continues.

Authorities still aren't releasing the name of the man arrested, but neighbors say he was very unfriendly and sometimes would flip people off for no reason.

"It's always a surprise when it happens in your community, but we're also aware that it can happen in any community," Kristi Spitzer said. 

Spitzer is dean of students at the Leola School.

"One of the things that we're focusing on and really focused on since the beginning of the year, before this event even happened in our community, is to help students make better decisions," Spitzer said.

Authorities are still determining exactly how close this house is to the school, which is just down the road. That's just one area still being investigated in a case that's expected to yield numerous felony charges.

Law enforcement say plants seized from the house ranged in size from a couple inches to three and a half feet. The sheriff isn't sure when all the charges will be filed.

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