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Woodbury man charged in pot growing incident

The Washington County Attorney's Office charged a Woodbury man Thursday with drug-related crimes after police found more than two dozen pot plants and several bags of cocaine in his home.

Earl Paul Gray Jr., 22, faces charges of first degree possession of 25 or more grams of cocaine and fifth degree sale of marijuana. Gray also faces charges of obstructing the legal process for resisting arrest, a criminal complaint stated.

St. Paul police made the arrest Tuesday, March 4 at Gray's town home on Courtly Alcove.

According to the criminal complaint, in January St. Paul police received a tip from a confidential source who said Gray was growing pot at the residence. An officer for the St. Paul Police drug unit obtained an administrative subpoena for Gray's electricity bill, which verified an unusual amount electrical usage at the home.

The officer then obtained a search warrant for the residence and used thermal imaging technology to detect that a portion of the home "was irregularly warm when compared to the town homes nearby."

The officer used assistance from State Patrol officers who determined that "based on their training experience, the troopers believe the imaging to be consistent with an indoor grow (sic) operation."

The officer obtained a second search warrant for the residence on March 4 where police later arrested Gray, the complaint stated.

Officers recovered nine bags of cocaine, which added up to 269 grams. They also found 23 marijuana plants growing in pots in the bedroom closet, along with growing instructions for marijuana and a "High Times" magazine.

In a subsequent interview with police, Gray said he had been growing marijuana in his bedroom since August 2007. He told investigators he had sold more than $1,500 of marijuana from a previous harvest, the criminal complaint stated.

He said he was storing the cocaine found in the home for a friend.

If convicted of the first degree controlled substance charge, Gray could face up to 30 years in prison.