Side Lake man gets 10 years for massive pot operationby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Side Lake man was sentenced to ten years in prison on Thursday for operating a massive outdoor marijuana plot.
In a plea agreement, Thorsten Gorham Otterness had admitted that he grew 1,339 marijuana plants in a field next to his rural Iron Range home during the summer of 2009. He also admitted that he planned to harvest and sell the plants. Authorities said the crop was worth at least $1 million.
Otterness, 50, was charged with drug possession in September. He pleaded guilty in November.
Officers from the Boundary Waters Drug Task Force initially spotted the plot about 20 miles north of Hibbing during a helicopter flyover of the area.
"Obviously, we got lucky on this one," said Detective Dennis Benz, who heads the task force, shortly after the discovery. "It's the biggest one that we know of, that we've come across."