Anders Receives Probation in Marijuana Growing Case
Miller: “It Was Essentially for his Own Usage”
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN
The case of an Alliance man accused of growing marijuana has been brought to a close with sentencing coming shortly after a plea agreement was reached in District Court.
Russell Anders, 60, was initially charged with a total of five counts: two counts of distribution of a controlled substance, a class 3A felony, possession of marijuana—more than one pound, a class 4 felony, possession of K2/synthetic marijuana—one ounce or less, an infraction, and possession of drug paraphernalia, an infraction.
According to the Affidavit for Custody, a search of Anders’ residence was conducted in December 2018, following a report from an individual that Anders had been growing marijuana in his basement. Officers with the Alliance Police Department pulled trash from the dumpster behind Anders’ residence and found “multiple items pertaining to a marijuana grow operation in sealed trash bags to include a portable ‘green house’ that had been cut and destroyed and multiple plants consistent with marijuana that had been pruned.”
Officers then made contact with Anders, who voluntarily allowed them to search his residence. The search yielded 1,198 grams of a “leafy green substance in mason jars.” There were also multiple strains of marijuana, according to the affidavit. Anders told the officer he had been growing the plants for the past one and a half to two years.
Anders told officers that h had destroyed his operation and had tried to destroy the green house. Officers also located a water system consistent with a grow operation. He was taken into custody.
In District Court, Anders pleaded guilty to the amended charges of possession of marijuana—more than one pound, a class 4 felony, and attempted possession of marijuana—more than one pound, a class 1 misdemeanor.
District Court Judge Travis O’Gorman asked if Anders had had any prior criminal offenses, to which Deputy County Attorney Larry Miller replied that he hadn’t.
“It’s a class 4 felony, so there’s a presumption of probation,” said Judge O’Gorman.
Miller said that reports show Anders was using marijuana in an attempt to manage pain.
“The report indicates that he had pain that he was suffering with and he couldn’t afford the medications, so the marijuana was doing it. It was essentially for his own usage.”
Judge O’Gorman suggested they move forward with sentencing, noting that nothing in Anders’ past would alter the presumption of probation. Anders agreed to move forward with sentencing.
Judge O’Gorman sentenced him to serve 12 months of probation.