Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alleged pot grower charged with felony

Hulen Meadows man accused of manufacturing marijuana

Express Staff Writer

Daniel E. Collins

A 64-year-old Ketchum-area man who has claimed he was growing marijuana for medicinal purposes has been charged with a felony.

Blaine County court records state that a charge of manufacture of a controlled substance was filed Friday against Daniel E. Collins, a Hulen Meadows resident whose home was raided Sept. 18 by the county's Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Collins was also charged with a sentence enhancement that alleges a "second or subsequent offence." The enhancement charge apparently stems from a 2003 Blaine County conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia "with intent to use."

Collins, a disabled Vietnam veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, told the Idaho Mountain Express shortly after the Narcotics Team raid that he uses marijuana to ease lower back pain.

The single felony charge filed by the Blaine County Prosecutor's Office against Collins was two felonies fewer than the Narcotics Team suggested in a news release. In addition to the manufacturing charge, the Narcotics Team stated that Collins also faced felony charges of drug trafficking and possession of marijuana.

According to the Narcotics Team, the raid on Collins' home netted "three living plants and numerous other plants set aside for drying."

Collins declined to comment Monday, saying he did not want to anger police.

Court records state that a summons was issued for Collins on Friday and that his arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 26 before Magistrate Court Judge R. Ted Israel.

Collins was not arrested the day of the raid. Instead, he was taken to St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center after he complained of chest pains.

Collins, who has had open-heart surgery, said earlier that he was frightened when the Narcotics Team showed up at his home with drawn weapons. He described his ailment that day in a "letter of thanks" classified advertisement published in the Oct. 7 issue of the Idaho Mountain Express.

"If not for the quick response of these highly trained law enforcement, paramedics and staff in the emergency room at St. Luke's Hospital, when I had acute angina chest pains, the outcome could have been much different," Collins wrote.

Terry Smith:

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