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Marijuana grow operation busted in Dundee

justine wettschreck/Daily Globe Marijuana, guns, an ATV and other items were seized this week by the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force during a grow operation bust in rural Dundee.

WORTHINGTON -- Bail was set at $5,000 Friday for David Dale Spies, 44, of Dundee, who was arrested Wednesday and charged with four felony counts of controlled substance possession and sale.

According to Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force (BRDTF) Commander Troy Appel, the case is a good example of how the task force balances time spent on priority targets with time spent on targets of opportunity.

An anonymous tip was received about a possible marijuana grow operation, and agents acted on that tip. The complaint states agents executed a search warrant on a Tripp Avenue residence in rural Dundee, and found the suspect, Spies, sitting in the yard.

When advised there was a search warrant for the property, Spies allegedly told the agents he had marijuana plants hanging in his shed and some plants on the floor of the shed. He also admitted to having about 20 plants growing in the cistern in the basement of his house.

While searching, agents found approximately 15 marijuana plants growing outside on the property. The plants appeared to have been cultivated, as they were tied to stakes with twist ties that said "organically grown."

After being advised of his rights and agreeing to talk to an agent, Spies allegedly admitted he had been growing marijuana for about 20 years. He said there were four plants hanging inside the building he referred to as his hunting shack and some on the floor of the shack that had been trimmed. When asked about the plants growing outside, Spies asked for an attorney. He was then arrested and taken to the Nobles County Jail.

Agents continued the search and found what Spies had described -- four plants hanging from bunk beds and others lying on the floor on newspaper. Inside a microwave, an agent found three bags of marijuana. Firearms were located next to the marijuana. Agents found empty plastic baggies and a digital scale, and other items were also seized.

"The focus of the task force has always been on the large-scale complicated conspiracy cases with multiple suspects, who are usually involved in the distribution of significant quantities of meth," Appel stated. "They do, however, take the time to deal with the small community and neighborhood problems such as this case... With less than a day invested in this case, an arrest was made and a marijuana grow operation taken down."

Appel encourages anyone with drug information to call the task force. Agents have no problem with keeping names anonymous.

"No matter how unimportant they might think their information is, it could be the piece we're looking for to move forward with an investigation," Appel stated.

Confidential tips can be sent to the BRDTF by using tip411 on a cell phone. Anyone wishing to give information can text 372DTF with the tip to 847411.