An Anchorage jury convicted 48-year-old Loren Kent Dodds for manufacturing marijuana out of his Palmer home.
Law enforcement went to the home after a child living there asked a relative for a small knife as a gift. The boy said he wanted the knife to help "cut the stinky lettuce," according to a report from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Courter said this is Dodd's third marijuana growing conviction. He had two prior convictions for growing marijuana at the same location, in 1994 and 2008. He was still on probation for the 2008 case when authorities last year found more than 600 marijuana plants in the house.
Every time he got caught, the business grew. "He had actually made his grows more sophisticated over the years,” Courter said. “This was a hydroponic grow that had over 600 plants and a very expansive light system, extensive electric system -- all of those things to support the grow."
Photos submitted to evidence show large rooms packed with greenery. "This wasn't a personal use situation," Courter said. The street value of what Dodd had on hand is still unknown, but Courter said investigators determined it was Dodd's main source of income.
Courter said the money from growing marijuana helped Dodds fund his lifestyle which included his 3,000 square foot home. "He had a snowmachine; he had a four-wheeler; he had a pick-up truck,” Courter said. “He had a lot of nice things that certainly without money, you can't have."
Authorities say Dodd also stole electricity to power the operation. After his conviction, Dodd faces a minimum of 10 years in jail.
Sentencing was scheduled for June 20.