The mayor of an Iowa town and her husband were arrested after police discovered 18 marijuana plants growing in their home. LaDonna Kennedy, the mayor of Jamaica, Iowa, and Randy Kennedy were charged with several crimes including manufacturing with intent to deliver no more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, two counts of failure to affix a drug stamp, and keeping a dwelling for possessing or selling a controlled substance.
The Guthrie County Sheriff and deputies had gone to the Kennedys’ residence at about 4:20 pm on Wednesday, according to media reports. The deputies had received information from a neighboring law enforcement agency that the suspect in an attempted murder, Rodney Halterman, may have been at the home. An arrest warrant had been issued for Halterman in Story County after a woman was shot in the chest on Saturday afternoon.
Odor of Pot Leads to Arrests
When the peace officers arrived, they “could all smell the overwhelming odor of raw marijuana coming from the residence while [they] stood outside knocking on the door,” Dep. Kent Gries wrote in a court affidavit. Sheriff Marty Arganbright reported seeing someone come to a window of the house and then shut it. The sheriff and deputies then decided to get a search warrant for the home based on the strong smell of marijuana and the possibility the fugitive may be in the residence. Law enforcement officers surrounded the house while they waited for the warrant to be delivered to the site.
While waiting for the warrant, Randy Kennedy was seen exiting the home and taken into custody. Kennedy asked to return to the house for a jacket and was permitted to do so. Deputy Gries accompanied Kennedy, who admitted that there were “nine plants” growing in the basement of the house. Kennedy was then detained in the back of a police car while the deputies continued to wait for the search warrant. Once the warrant was signed and delivered to the deputies via email, they entered the house to serve the warrant.
“During the execution of the search warrant, law enforcement located eighteen marijuana plants in various states of growth,” Gries wrote. “There were three separate areas in the residence for marijuana growing. A substantial purpose of the residence was for marijuana growing, sorting, packaging.”
The deputies also found various items of drug paraphernalia, an unmarked pill bottle containing 24 tablets identified as the controlled substance Lorazepam, and nine baggies of cannabis.
“A very, very rough estimate of the packaged marijuana would be around 45 ounces,” according to the affidavit.
Halterman, the man the deputies were originally searching for, was not found at the house.
Randy and LaDonna Kennedy were arrested and initially held in lieu of an $18,000 bond, but a magistrate released the couple on their own recognizance on Thursday. Reporters were not able to reach the Kennedys for comment. If convicted, LaDonna Kennedy could be removed from office by a judge or action from the city council.
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