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Negen sentenced for marijuana grow

WINDOM -- The Windom man charged in connection with a large marijuana grow operation in rural Windom has been sentenced in federal court to 37 months incarceration and three years of supervised release, along with $2,500 in fines.

Marlin Dale Negen was arrested in late September after authorities spent almost a month watching the marijuana plants he was tending and gathering evidence against him.

Hundreds of plants were found, as well as more than 175 pounds of harvested marijuana. A secret room, which was found under his construction business trailer, housed racks used to dry the drugs. Also found were hundreds of Red Wing crocks and dishes, which Negen was using to launder his drug money.

Negen's case was dismissed from Cottonwood County District Court so he could be prosecuted federally. He later pleaded guilty to the manufacture of 420 marijuana plants.

Because Negen had no criminal history, the sentencing guidelines range from 37 to 46 months of imprisonment.

A document on behalf of Negen states he is 52 years old and has no record other than two speeding tickets.

"The defendant has been an active and helpful member of his local Windom community," the document states, then goes on to list his activities as a former scout den master, active in his church and supportive of various charities.

The document also states Negen, a supportive father and long-time resident of Windom, has struggled with depression for most of his life.

His business, the document says, is burdened with expensive equipment and labor intensive, which means he does not have excess revenues at the end of each year.

In the government's response, the document acknowledges Negen's long-time residency, but states, "(He) has been growing marijuana for an extensive period of time."

"In addition, he has been providing it to individuals who have provided it to high school students in this area," the documents claims. "The offense by its nature is serious. Defendant grew marijuana plants in numerous locations throughout his property, meticulously cared for the plants and harvested them and prepared them for sale to others."

The federal document points out the need to protect the community, including the teenagers who would not have had access to the marijuana in the last few years but for the actions of Negen.

Negen is to surrender to the U.S. Marshals in Minneapolis by 10 a.m., Sept. 8.