Archive for Friday, January 6, 2006

Resident admits growing marijuana

Douglas County a ‘target-rich’ environment for growth operations, KBI says

January 6, 2006


Being home to the state's largest university helps make Douglas County attractive to marijuana growers, according to state law enforcement officials.

"We do seem to have more than our fair share of marijuana-growing operations in the general area" of Douglas and Jefferson counties, said Kyle Smith, spokesman for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. "It's a target-rich environment."

Details about one Lawrence drug operation became public Thursday.

A Lawrence man pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring and growing hundreds of marijuana plants during five months in 2003 in an Osage County field and storing them in a Lawrence home for distribution.

Justin P. Penka, 26, reached a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

University Relations of Kansas University on Thursday said records showed a Justin Peter Penka graduated with a bachelor's degree in fine arts during the summer of 2003.

Penka turned himself in to authorities on March 4, 2005, after a grand jury indicted him Feb. 23, 2005.

Penka admitted in the plea agreement that the conspiracy involved growing marijuana in a wooded area about five miles northeast of Melvern.

Law enforcement officers videotaped activities in the field between Aug. 20, 2003, and Sept. 22, 2003. The video footage showed Penka and another man tending the plants.

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said the two men named in Penka's indictment have not been indicted.

After the marijuana plants were grown, cultivated plants were then stored in the basement of Penka's residence at 1618 Ky. The Lawrence residence also was used for growing marijuana indoors since August 2002.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Highway Patrol investigated the case. Officers seized 51 plants in the Osage County field, 86 plants from the residence and more than 500 grams of processed marijuana.

According to details of the plea agreement, the marijuana was processed and sold for prices that generated $350 to $400 profit per ounce.

Smith, the KBI spokesman, deferred comments on the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office, but he said investigators generally used airplanes and other surveillance to discover outdoor marijuana fields.

Smith said he had no specific data, but cited the large population of university students in Lawrence as an apparent factor in the disproportionate amount of cultivated marijuana seized in the area.

1618 Kentucky

"We've always had a large marijuana growing problem in the Douglas County and Jefferson County area. Probably more so than the rest of the state," he said.

The KBI's marijuana eradication statistics show law enforcement raids in Douglas County have netted 164 indoor marijuana plants in 2005 and only 180 in the rest of the state that year.

In 2004, they recovered 211 indoor plants in Douglas County and 601 in the rest of the state.

No outdoor plants were recovered in Douglas County in either 2004 or 2005. KBI statistics show that 55 total outdoor marijuana plants were seized in Douglas County in 2003 and 365 in 2002.

Penka will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on June 12. He faces a possible sentence of between five and 40 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $2 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

Ah! So that is the reason for the dry spell.....I mean, uh.. Drugs are bad Mmm'kay...

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

does this mean the k.b.i. is profiling k.u. students ? if not, they should.

toxicvapor 12 years, 3 months ago

"According to details of the plea agreement, the marijuana was processed and sold for prices that generated $350 to $400 profit per ounce."

Daayum. Must have been some good chit.

Sandman 12 years, 3 months ago

Par for the course in this town.

Welcome to Hippyville, U.S.A.

lori 12 years, 3 months ago

They knew it was being grown, but they didnt go after them until after it was sold and distributed? That seems a little counter productive.

coach 12 years, 3 months ago

lori. Thats not couter productive. You think an investigation should end just as it begins? Think of how much they found throughout the investigation and surveillance rather than busting them from the start. Thats smart Law Enforcement.

neopolss 12 years, 3 months ago

Waste ... of ... tax ... dollars.

Growing certain plants is illegal. That's almost silly to think about. It grows natural around here. Let's get government out of the business of drug regulation once and for all.

Caffeine = approved Cannabis = denied Morphine = approved Cannabis = denied

cutny 12 years, 3 months ago

I agree with lj reader. Wittig keeps the house he built with his ill-gotten gains while this man's future remains in doubt. "Problem" hardly...smoking pot in Lawrence Kansas is like drinking iced-tea anywhere else. Ridiculous waste of resources. Would love to know where they came up with the $400 an ounce estimate. That's gotta be some primo weed. Meanwhile, belly up to the bar and drink til you can't see straight. It's legal.

redmorgan 12 years, 3 months ago

between five and 40 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $2 million... That is ridiculous! But, hey, Wittig gets to keep his mansion!

bendaddy 12 years, 3 months ago

Not all pot users look back fondly at their drug experiences, check out the commentary at:

acg 12 years, 3 months ago

bendaddy that was the most god awful, boring nonsense I've ever listened to. That guy reminded me of my old high school english teacher who used to read Chaucer to us in a monotone. Made me want to open a vein.

gr 12 years, 3 months ago


alcohol = approved nicotine = approved plant = denied

Maybe the problem is there is no tax money being made off of plants. I thought there was a drug stamp tax - which is silliness in itself.

Not saying people should smoke marijuana, but the unbalanced treatment of addictive drugs seems, well... criminal.

lilchick 12 years, 3 months ago

I am not a pot smoker, but don't feel that it should be illegal. Seriously, just think of all of the tax dollars that could have been contributing to our schools from the sale of this $350-$400 per ounce pot!!! Forget gambling to generate revenue......start taxing pot!!!!

lua423 12 years, 3 months ago

Bill Hicks said it best!

"If you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, then go home and burn all your records, all your tapes, and all your CDs because every one of those artists who have made brilliant music and enhanced your lives? RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrEAL fcking high on drugs. The Beatles were so fcking high they let Ringo sing a few songs."

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 3 months ago

I bet side effects from legal presciption drugs have hurt more people more badly over the years then any pot could ever do. And yet the pill companies keep pushing the stuff legally on the TV and radio everyday. "Take this here pill to cure mind you it might rarely cause sudden death or explosive diarrhea..but heck you won't have the heartburn anymore!". You know what I'm talking about. They need to just legalize it and be done with it!

glockenspiel 12 years, 3 months ago

400 for an ounce is actually accurate.

$50 for an eighth is the going rate for "kind", and outdoor stuff that is well watered and picked correctly is often classified as such.

Aiko 12 years, 3 months ago

Wow, I listened to that on NPR and I want those 5 or so minutes of my life back. Brutal!

Aiko 12 years, 3 months ago


I just read that newsletter and how bizarre. I hope they do go and picket and get their arses kicked.....

hottruckinmama 12 years, 3 months ago

i have a couple of good ideas about what someone should do about mr. phelps but if i posted them i'd be kicked off this thing. you get my drift?

Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

Not around here it isn't. An 8th is usually not sold. A quarter will run you about 20-25, and an ounce can be as low as 80. However, the quality, actual size, and such may vary.


I mean...

Drugs are bad mmmkay.....

Redneckgal 12 years, 3 months ago

Got your drift mama and you're right but the dumb a** people keep there young kids with them and use them as kind of a shield when they are out doing this kind of thing.

tell_it_like_it_is 12 years, 3 months ago

I don't know what makes that idiot tick..but he is really gonna give Kansas something to be ashamed of back there in West Virgina. Southerners (I can say it cause I am one) can be little hot tempered at times. Maybe he will find himself lost in mine or a cave or something back there. Surely there is someway to stop that nit-wit.

Redneckgal 12 years, 3 months ago

Has the SRS ever investigated Fred and his clan for using the little kids as kind of a human sheild? Because when you see pictures of them that seems to me to be what they are doing-the kids are usually right up there in front of the adults. Isn't that child endangerment? You delibrately inrage a whole crowd and then put your kids out there in front of you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 3 months ago

"I wonder how this will effect certain people that sit on the commish?"

Did you see any of them mentioned in the article? That should answer your question, but I understand that you really don't have anything useful to say, so in your desperation you are again making sh*t up.

gesus 12 years, 3 months ago

God is perfect, man is not. Man brews beer, God grows pot

Pimps up, hoes down!

BabysMomma 12 years, 3 months ago

In reply to the person who wondered why SRS doesn't act to protect the children whose childhoods those Phelps freaks are ruining, I recently heard that one of the highest-ranking functionaries over at the SRS offices in Topeka is a member guessed it...the Phelps clan. Good to have well-placed minions.

Incidentally, bad idea to write anything here assuming you are 100% anonymous.

As far as this kid's case goes, I'm sure it's not going to do him any good if his former customers start posting things about what they bought from him, you know? Nothing is ever written in a vacuum. Might be good to imagine a judge reading through all those posts in preparation for a sentencing hearing before venting your spleen, yes?

Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

Just to let you guys know, there is a brand spanking new profile posing on this board. I smell cop, or somebody expecting to have certain people hook him up. Watch out for a guy that goes by the login of P-(set of numbers).

Not like I need to worry. I put that stuff behind me long ago. But still mr.policeman or whoever you are, get a life.

Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

This profile, which has never posted at all, contacted me via the paper's email system.I don't like it. I don't do drugs, I don't sell drugs, and even if I did, the penalty is so minor here now that it's not worth them doing this big vice thing they are doing. But I don't. And if they want to know who I am, a little research into my comments, and cross checking can tell them. I just don't like what they tried to do with a wierd little message sent to me.

Ragingbear 12 years, 3 months ago

There ya go. And I don't deny I have a history with marijuana, and being on the streets, I was in touch with the drug scene on a daily basis. I eventually cleaned my life up, and am on the road to recovery on a number of facets. So I don't need to worry about much of anything from the law. That is, unless they determine that some of my prescription drugs are illegal anyways. Then I will have grounds for enough of a lawsuit to own the police.

James Hubin 12 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Calliope877 12 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Marion (anonymous) on January 6, 2006 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Speaking of tragedies, I notice that the LJW is not reporting on Phred Pyelps' intention to demonstrate at the funerals of the twelve miners in West Virginia.

Phred has thanked God for thier deaths.

Read more here:



When is Phelps going to die? He's got to be at least 100 years old...

On to the topic at hand. Here are the top ten reasons why pot is better than alcohol, meth, heroin & cocaine:

10) it doesn't give you a hangover.

9) people who are usually bad drivers become better drivers when they're high.

8) it makes food taste REALLY good -- that's probably one of it's downfalls...

7) It makes SNL funnier than what it really is.

6) A pothead is more likely to steal your sandwich than rob, rape, or murder you.

5) It's NOT addictive because if you smoke too much of it on a daily basis it just isn't fun anymore.

4) It makes your monotonous job, chores, or homework a hell of lot more interesting.

3) Everyone is your friend...unless you're a paranoid freak.

2) Art, music, movies, and literature take on a whole new meaning.

1) Smoking a joint is a hell of a lot more safer than driving in rush hour traffic after drinking a 12 pack of Bud Light.

Calliope877 12 years, 3 months ago

Of course, my top ten list isn't from personal experience....:)

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