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New London man faces felony charges after pot growing operation bust

WILLMAR -- A 30-year-old New London man made his first appearance Thursday on felony charges for allegedly running a marijuana growing operation, with more than 300 plants, in the basement of a home on North Long Lake.

Marc Alan Gauquie faces three felony fifth-degree drug sale and possession charges in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $70,000, with conditional bail at $2,500 cash. Conditions include no possession of hydroponic growing materials or equipment. His next court appearance is June 17.

According to the complaint, CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents executed a search warrant on the home on April 22 and found a total of 336 marijuana plants in the basement of the home with grow lights, ventilation fans, humidity control equipment and other indoor growing items.

Also found in the home was literature on growing marijuana, catalogs for hydroponic growing and on electrical wiring, plus equipment for harvesting and packaging marijuana.

Agents also found a total of 169.1 grams of marijuana, plus nine and one-half Adderall pills. The drug is a Schedule II narcotic and contains amphetamine.

The complaint states that law enforcement officials had compared the electrical usage of the home, plus two other nearby homes. They found that the other homes used between 600 and 800 kilowatts of power a month while the home with the grow operation used between 1,400 to 2,800 kilowatts per month.

A neighbor had suspected that there was a growing operation at the home because most of the home's windows were covered over and the open windows released a strong smell of marijuana and moisture-laden air. Neighbors had also observed a man coming and going from the home, but never outside. The man was identified as Gauquie through his Department of Motor Vehicles photo.