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Bowhunters Thwart Two Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations in Minnesota Parks

Mendota Heights police confiscate numerous marijuana plants from Valley View park. Photo courtesy of Mendota Heights Police Department.

Mendota Heights police confiscate numerous marijuana plants from Valley View park. Photo courtesy of Mendota Heights Police Department.

Imagine sitting in your stand and witnessing a crime in progress. It doesn’t happen to many hunters, but one bowhunter who was hired by the city to cull deer in Valley Park in Mendota Heights, Minnesota was waiting for some deer to walk by, when instead he saw two teenagers walk to a patch of marijuana plants ready for harvest.

The hunter sat just 15 feet away from the two teenage boys, observing them for a few minutes as they harvested the plants. He then called the police who came to question the teens. The boys, Jorge Devalerio, 19, of Savage and a 17-year-old minor from St. Paul were the second group of people caught cultivating marijuana plants in the past few weeks by a hired bowhunter.

“It’s drawn a lot of attention to the deer hunting operation,” Mendota Heights Police Chief Mike Aschenbrener said. “That’s good and bad.” This was actually the third operation to be uncovered recently, but only two have been with the help of a bowhunter.

The other bowhunter to help bust a growing op was not named, but he is a member of the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base in Minnesota. On Thursday, September 20, he was only on the first day of the cull when at 6:30 p.m. he witnessed two teenagers harvesting marijuana leaves from an eight-foot tall plant in the park.

Mendota Heights is a suburban city near St. Paul and Minneapolis. While there are a few large parcels of land, the majority of the city is residential. The deer culling program started in 1995 so that the deer would not be killed by cars in an urban and residential area where hunting is not permitted. The park the boys were growing marijuana is a 260-acre green space in the city. It is open to the public, but not in active use, therefore their operation went undetected for the entire summer.

Aschenbrener said the boys, who are cousins, were cited for possession of marijuana. Aschenbrener believes they were the ones to plant them there originally and that they had been growing all summer. “They didn’t just come across this,” Aschenbrener said.

Photo courtesy of Mendota Heights Police Department

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  • Bill

    One more pro choice for hunters, the druggies must be hatting now. That’s good, deprive them of all there drugs, think is if done nationally our politicians would have to find legal jobs!

    • 1 for freedom

      you ignorant fellow. You should spell check. You and the “hunters” didn’t choose anything. Now more lives are broken over plant, not a chemical that kills, a plant that has NEVER in recorded history has it caused a death. But how about those “antidepressants” (chemicals that you can not even pronounce let alone write)

    • jorge

      Bro hey left every single plant there ur corrupt police and wen they picked me up they didnt take barly any plants theyvalso took some for themselves to keep that forest had hundred of plants there that pic only has 10

  • Scott

    Very tragic. What is it we need to get to a place where we find peaceful choice among human beings to be in service to our lives and communities?

  • a real person

    Why doesn’t he mind his own business!!! What happened to freedom of expression? We should legalize freedom in this country, that way they would never have grown on public property!!!

  • Bob

    This is not much to be proud of. The prohibition of Marijuana is pretty much the same type of issue as gun control.