A Lawrence man was found guilty this week after entering a no-contest plea to two drug-related felonies for his role in growing marijuana plants out of an upscale house near Alvamar Golf Course.
Steven A. Soby, 23, agreed to the deal Monday on counts of cultivating marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. His trial was scheduled to start Wednesday in Douglas County District Court.
Soby faces between 15 months and five years either on probation or in prison.
Douglas County Dist. Atty. Charles Branson said the agreement doesn't guarantee Soby probation.
"He will have to make that case to the judge," Branson said.
Soby's attorney, Billy Rork, said the defense plans to ask Douglas County District Court Judge Stephen Six for a sentence of probation.
"(Soby) said, 'I grew plants. I will take the responsibility, but I wasn't selling it,'" Rork said.
Soby is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 27.
Members of the city-county Drug Enforcement Unit said they began investigating Soby and Nolan H. Smith, 24, after informants said they had knowledge of plant growth at 3710 Hartford Ave.
Officers have alleged that no one lived at the home in 2004, but that the two men used it for an indoor growing operation, partially based on the high utility bills there. Police also said they found marijuana and items consistent with a growing operation in the trash near the men's duplex in southwestern Lawrence.
Soby and Smith were charged in 2005.
Branson said he accepted Soby's plea because it gives him a criminal record, requires him to participate in drug treatment and will make for more severe punishment if he breaks the law again.
"I think it serves the purpose of holding him accountable for his actions," Branson said.
Smith is scheduled to appear before Six for a hearing on Sept. 21.
Branson said Soby was not required to testify against Smith as part of the agreement.
Bork, the defense attorney, said Soby did grow more than five marijuana plants at the home.
Smith's attorney, Sarah Swain, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Prosecutors originally charged both men with cultivation of marijuana, possession with intent to sell marijuana, possession of oxycodone, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to pay a drug-tax stamp.