BENZIE COUNTY, MI – Nearly a year after authorities dismantled what they described as a $1 million illegal marijuana farm in Northern Michigan, one man linked to the operation has been convicted in court.
This week, Ronald Snyder was convicted of delivery and manufacturing of marijuana in Benzie County, according to the Traverse Narcotics Team, a multijurisdictional investigative team led by the Michigan State Police.
Snyder was sentenced to five years felony probation, one year on an electronic tether, $3,400 in fines and 40 hours of community service, TNT said.
Others charged in connection to the raid settled their cases months ago, pleading to lesser charges, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported earlier this year.
After getting tips about an illegal marijuana grow operation last year, TNT said its officers used search warrants to enter three of Snyder’s properties. Evidence seized included 383 marijuana plants, firearms and cash.
The street value of the drugs seized was more than $1 million, TNT said.
Operators had reportedly argued that the plants – some found in enclosed, locked areas, tagged with patients’ names – were being grown in accordance with Michigan’s medical marijuana laws.
But authorities said evidence and further investigation showed they were “operating well outside of state laws.”
The court hearing, led by Benzie County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson, spanned five days, authorities said.
TNT received assistance on the case from the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office, the county’s animal control, Michigan State Police K9 units and its Computer Crimes Unit.
Cases like this can be controversial in states like Michigan, where data shows an uptick in marijuana users.
In 2008, Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana.
A petition drive is currently underway to put a proposal to legalize use of recreational marijuana on the state’s November 2018 ballot.