In the western Minnesota town of Barnesville, a nine-year-old girl recently walked into a police station and proceeded to sell out her parent’s marijuana business to the authorities. Barnesville Police Chief Dean Ernst stated that the girl and her friend calmly walked into the police station and shared their concerns about the girl’s parents.
The girl explained that the smoke irritated her. Ernst said that she told him that her parents would smoke weed in the house and make it smell, the girl confessed that she did not like the smell and it frequently made her sick. She also expressed concern for her dog, saying that they would inhale and blow marijuana smoke into the pet’s face and nose. She believed that the actions were harmful to her dog.
Based upon the information the young girl provided, the police were then able to get a warrant to search the property. The law enforcement agents located eight plants growing in the basement of the home. They stated that the room was eight-foot-by-eight-foot and housed the plants and a growing light system. Ernst said that they also had an air conditioner to keep the temperature regulated for the marijuana plants. According to Ernst, this was not a regular basement being accessible only via a small hidden door in the kitchen.
In addition to information about the growing and maintaining of the plants, the nine-year-old girl provided information about her parent’s marijuana business, saying that they frequently sold the drug to regular customers. Charges have not been brought against the couple as of yet and the couple voluntarily allowed their child to stay with her grandparents for the time being.
Ernst said that it was a wise move by the parents to allow the girl to stay with her grandparents until the situation settled down, as opposed to having Social Services get involved. Ernst stated that the girl was not “officially removed” from her parent’s custody. The girl’s parents have lived in Barnesville for about six months. During their residency, they had stayed out of trouble and had not made their marijuana business know to anyone other than their customers.
Ernst provided information about a similar situation that previously happened in his area of jurisdiction and said that these occurrences are very uncommon in this area and that Milwaukee is not known for the cultivation of marijuana. When Ernst was asked whether he was impressed by the girl’s actions, he simply stated, “not necessarily.”
Ernst said that he believes that kids do look out for their parent’s best interests. He cited instances where kids beg their parents not to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol out of concern for their health. The Barnesville Police Chief suggested that the girl knew the police would be the best place to seek help for her parents. Further, he described the nine-year-old’s selling out of her parent’s marijuana business not as an act of vengeance or punishment, but rather a situation in which she simply wanted them to stop. Ernst revealed that the girl seemed very intelligent, and that when interviewing her, deputies stated that it was as if they were interviewing an articulate well-spoken adult.
By Andres Loubriel