Linn Township couple bound over for trial

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
— The business owned by Amy and Fred Rickel wasn't doing well, so they are accused of turning to a profitable side-project: growing marijuana in their basement, a venture they told police generated $8,000 a month.

The couple were bound over for trial Wednesday on felony charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, manufacturing marijuana and a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff's deputies and local police reported Jan. 8 seizing 159 marijuana plants and about 150 grams of processed marijuana during the execution of a search warrant at N1518 Geneva Ave., Linn Township, a property adjacent to the Rickels' residence at N1510 Geneva Ave.

The house belongs to Fred Rickel's mother, who was leasing the property to the couple in exchange of mortgage payments, authorities said.

“There were three different rooms containing marijuana plants,” said Deputy Jeff Recknagel, part of the Walworth County Drug Enforcement Unit. “There were growing supplies, a digital scale, packaging materials, loose marijuana lying on the carpet.

“She (Amy) told me her and her husband are running a private business that has suffered financially, so they turned to marijuana to supplement their income.”

Recknagel testified at a preliminary hearing Wednesday that the couple admitted selling marijuana to four or five customers, mostly in Illinois. The sales were primarily ounce packages priced at $200.

Deputies also seized $2,070 cash and a 2002 Ford Explorer, according to officials at the Walworth County Drug Enforcement Unit.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Patek, who heads the drug enforcement unit, said each of the 159 plants could have produced about a half pound of marijuana. A pound of marijuana has street value of about $3,500, he said.

Fred Rickel is free on a $10,000 cash bond, and Amy Rickel is free on a signature bond.

They are due back in court March 25.

Last updated: 12:48 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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