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Screaming fit leads to marijuana bust

| Thursday, June 10, 2004

Butler Township police investigating a complaint about a man screaming and yelling early Wednesday morning instead found a tongue-tied teenager who wouldn't even give up his name.

But his breath did the talking and led police to a marijuana growing room filled with 245 pot plants.

"The kid smelled like marijuana," officer Ray Kriebel said. "There was a strong, pungent odor around the whole area."

Kriebel and officer David Fish found Evan Young, 19, standing near a two-story shed behind a house along Bredin Avenue, and Kenneth Wayne Riddle, 32, later emerged from the structure, police said. A tray of fresh-cut marijuana was in plain view inside the first floor of the shed, according to police.

The officers secured a warrant at 4:44 a.m., entered the second story of the shed through a trap door and came into the growing room -- complete with fans, lights mounted on motors and a germination area.

Kriebel said the plants -- and another 25 young sprouts found in the woods behind the shed -- were in various stages of development, from seedlings to fully grown plants.

"He (Riddle) had a pretty extensive grow operation in there," the officer said.

Kriebel said police are not sure if either of the men was the person originally reported to be screaming and carrying on at about 1:30 a.m.

Kriebel said Riddle lives with his parents in the house on the property where the shed is located, and Young lives on Amherst Drive in the city of Butler.

Both men were arraigned before Butler Township District Justice Kevin O'Donnell on charges of manufacture of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Young was being held in the Butler County Jail on Wednesday night in lieu of $50,000 bond. Riddle was freed after posting $50,000 bail.

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