Alleged marijuana grower pleads not guilty

Published 4:11 pm Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Austin man who led police to an alleged marijuana grow operation after he was turned in for assault pleaded not guilty to four charges Thursday in Mower County Court.

Alex Patrick Hernandez, 25, pleaded not guilty to four charges: fifth-degree drug sale and fifth degree drug possession, domestic assault and obstructing the legal process. The first two charges are felonies.

Police allegedly found the illegal operation when they responded to a domestic assault call at Hernandez’s home in the 500 block of Ninth Street NW on May 7. The officer went upstairs and found a broken window, a woman crying “hysterically,” according to the court complaint, and the smell of marijuana. Police then found Hernandez hiding in a crawl space behind a child’s bed, where they allegedly found marijuana plants, reflectors, lights and a heat source.

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The victim allegedly allowed police to search the home, and they found marijuana growing materials, a bottle of Vicodin and a schedule II controlled substance. The complaint says Hernandez admitted to the operation and said the victim knew nothing about it. He also admitted to not having a prescription for the hydrocodone. However, Hernandez denied he assaulted the victim.

Hernandez’s pretrial is set for July 26.