Image by Flickr user Laughing Squid
Update June 28: Things aren't looking any better for former state tropper Kurt Steffen, as now he is being accused of conspiring to deal marijuana--while still wearing his badge.
Additionally, he's being accused of owning a property in Dorchester County where approximately 310 marijuana plants were found in January 2010, just one month after he resigned as a state trooper. It looks as though the growing operation had been occuring for some time and had already led to a number of marijuana harvests on the property.
And in a strange twist that bodes even worse for Steffen, the former state trooper was reportedly seen wielding an AK-47 rifle and threatening to kill an associate if he cooperated with federal authorities.
Steffen's bail has been set at $75,000. If he does post bail, he will be subject to house arrest, electronic monitoring, regular drug tests, and more.
If Steffen is convicted of both charges against him (conspiracy and possession), he'll be looking at a minimum of 15 years in federal prison.
Get the full scoop over at The Post and Courier's report here.
First reporting: Former state trooper Kurt Steffen, 29, has been accused of conspiring to distribute the harvest from more than 1,000 marijuana plants (yowza, that's a lot of plants!).
Steffen began working as an S.C. trooper in July 2007 and resigned on Dec. 23, 2009. He has no prior criminal record.
Earlier this year, indictments in the marijuana ring case were handed down against Edward Ross Atkins, 30, who owns GreenSpirit Hydrogardens; Christopher Harris, 31; Ryan Ashley Harris, 35; and Armando Verdugo, 23. Authorities are still looking for one suspect that's been identified as being part of the drug ring.
The indictment accuses the suspects of growing at least 100 marijuana plants and conspiring to move over 1,000 plants throughout the Charleston area.
No word yet on if Steffen's experience as a state trooper was seen as an advantage to those involved in the marijuana ring.
To get the full details, hop on over to The Post and Courier's in-depth report here.