Large Marijuana Grow Uncovered in Emery County

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ECSO Press Release

Emery County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a concerned citizen who suspected a marijuana grow at the old Christmas tree farm on the east end of Castle Dale. Emery County Drug Task Force members surveyed the area and confirmed the grow, which included a complex irrigation system and green house.

Task Force members went to the property yesterday to set up cameras in an attempt to determine who was growing the marijuana. When they got to the property, they saw a vehicle that had not been there previously. At that point, they left to put together a plan and decided to take down the operation.

As Drug Task Force members hiked the property, they observed a man on a four-wheeler driving out of the grow area. The man drove to one of the trailers on the property and went inside. At this point, the Task Force moved in and apprehended the suspect.

Huntington resident Heinz Lehwalder, age 73, was arrested without incident. Lehwalder gave consent to search the trailers and property.

Personnel seized a total of 156 plants – – 23 that had been harvested and were drying, and 133 mature plants still in the ground ranging in size from 3 to 7 feet tall. They also seized several totes of harvested marijuana. Estimated value of the seizure is over $100,000.00.

Lehwalder appeared in Seventh District Court this morning and was charged with Cultivation of Marijuana, a Third Degree Felony; Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute, a Third Degree Felony; and Possession of Paraphernalia, a Class B Misdemeanor. He was appointed the services of a public defender and the judge released him on his own recognizance.

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