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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 7, 2014

Jury Convicts Palmer Man of Third Marijuana Grow And Forfeits The House That Concealed It

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that on April 3, 2014, an Anchorage jury convicted a Palmer man of one count of manufacturing marijuana.   The jury also returned a verdict forfeiting Dodds’ residence to the government because it facilitated his marijuana grow operation.      

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kim Sayers-Fay and Stephanie Courter, who prosecuted the case, Loren Kent Dodds, 48, of Palmer, Alaska, was convicted of a one count of manufacturing marijuana.  Trial evidence demonstrated that Dodds made the lower level of his Palmer residence into a sophisticated hydroponic grow equipped with motorized lights and myriad timers, which were all powered by stolen electricity. 

Dodds was convicted of having a marijuana grow in the same residence twice before, in 2008 and 1994.  Dodds was still on probation for his 2008 marijuana cultivation and power theft convictions when police discovered the 2013 grow in the same residence.  Dodds’ 2013 grow was his largest yet, with over 600 plants, ranging from starters to “mother plants” that were over seven feet tall.  Dodds’ third marijuana grow came to law enforcement’s attention after a young boy who was living at Dodds’ residence asked a relative for a knife so he could help Dodds cut the stinky  “lettuce.”   

Dodds denied responsibility for the marijuana grow, telling investigators that he lived in a ramshackle motorhome offsite rather than in his more than 3,000 square foot residence located on several acres.  Dodds claimed to have rented the residence to a couple whose last name he did not know and whose telephone number he did not have.    

U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason scheduled Dodds’ sentencing for June 20, 2014.  Dodds faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment for his repeat offense, and up to a maximum of forty years’ imprisonment, to be followed by at least ten years of supervised release.  Dodds may also be fined up to $5,000,000.  Because the jury returned a verdict finding that Dodds used his Palmer, Alaska, residence to facilitate his marijuana grow, Dodds will forfeit that house and real property to the government.  The jury could not reach a decision on whether Dodds’ adjoining property also facilitated his manufacturing operation. 

Ms. Loeffler commends the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Alaska State Troopers, and the State Drug Enforcement Unit task force members from both Wasilla and Palmer Police Departments for the investigation that culminated in Dodds’ conviction and the related forfeiture.

Updated January 29, 2015