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Barnesville youth turns parents in for growing pot

MOORHEAD, Minn. – A Barnesville couple are under investigation for dealing drugs and child endangerment after their 9-year-old daughter turned them in for running a marijuana-growing operation out of their shared home, Barnesville police say.

According to court documents filed Monday in Clay County District Court, the girl went to the Barnesville police station June 6. She approached an officer and told him her parents were growing marijuana plants almost as tall as the girl, hidden in the crawlspace under their house.

The girl told police her parents smoked marijuana daily, and had people over to buy it from them.

The girl told police the smoke from the marijuana would fill the house and make her sick, and that she was worried about her dog because her parents would blow the smoke into the dog’s mouth.

The search warrant states the child was taken into protective custody by Child Protection Services once before, when the family lived in Cass County, N.D., because the parents had been using marijuana in front of her.

Barnesville police had previously received information from Clay County Child Protection Services about the possibility the parents were using marijuana in front of the girl, but police weren’t able to back up the claim, the warrant states.

Barnesville police Officer Ryan Beattie, who took the report from the girl, said her story checked out perfectly.

“I’ve got to say this girl is exceptionally brave,” he said.

Every piece of evidence listed in the search warrant as being seized from the home – including seven immature marijuana plants, baggies with suspected methamphetamine residue and a large assortment of marijuana paraphernalia – were exactly where the girl said they were, Beattie said.

During the police raid on their home, the parents reportedly admitted they both use marijuana.

The mother told investigators she uses it to help alleviate her symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that the couple dealt the drug to help make ends meet financially.

The officers spent time with the two pit bulls in the home during the execution of the search warrant, and the animals appeared to be fine, Beattie said.

There was no evidence available other than the girl’s statement that the parents had given the dogs marijuana, he said, but the possibility of animal abuse charges is an option police are keeping open.

The girl’s parents and Child Protection Services had agreed to have the girl stay with relatives, which is where she is now, Beattie said.

Child Protection Services officials are also making a recommendation as to whether formal charges of child abuse should be considered for the girl’s parents, Beattie said.

The parents have not formally waived their right to custody of their daughter, he said.

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