Billings couple charged with illegal pot growing operation

2012-11-26T14:26:00Z 2012-11-28T22:08:15Z Billings couple charged with illegal pot growing operationGazette Staff The Billings Gazette

Bond was set at $5,000 each for a Billings couple accused of illegally growing marijuana.

Joshua Grant Wright, 34, and Jewell Theresa Wright, 43, appeared Monday in Yellowstone County District Court by video from the county jail, where they are charged with two counts of felony criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs.

Both pleaded not guilty to the felony charges and additional misdemeanor charges of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Joshua and Jewell Wright were arrested Nov. 16 at a residence on Jubilee Street in the Heights on warrants issued earlier this month. During the arrest, law enforcement officials said, 75 to 80 marijuana plants were found growing at the residence.

The Wrights were arraigned Monday on charges stemming from two earlier incidents.

According to prosecutors, the first incident happened on Aug. 9, 2011, when sheriff's deputies were called to investigate nails scattered on the roadway near 962 Eagle Ridge Drive.

While speaking to the Wrights at that residence, deputies found two marijuana plants growing on the deck. The plants were seized and later tested at the Montana State Crime Lab, court records state.

Neither Joshua Wright nor his wife was a marijuana card holder, prosecutors state.

The second incident happened on Feb. 2, when deputies were sent to the same residence to evict the Wrights by court order. During a search, an officer reported finding cardboard boxes with marijuana stems, marijuana pipes and a small amount of marijuana.

A shed also appeared to be set up as a grow operation, court records state.

During the search, Joshua Wright reportedly told deputies that they would die in a holy war against law enforcement.              

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