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4 Minneapolis men plead guilty to growing marijuana

MINNEAPOLIS - Four local men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to growing and harvesting between 1,000 and 4,000 marijuana plants in the basement of two Minneapolis homes over the past eight years. The guilty pleas were announced by U.S. Attorney, B. Todd Jones, District of Minnesota. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Minneapolis Police Violent Offender Task Force.

Corey Jeffrey Hanssen, 36, and his brother, Zowie Jon Hanssen, 35, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to manufacture 100 or more marijuana plants on Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge David S. Doty. Gregg Anthony Boullosa, 38, and James Howard Shaffer, 42, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on June 7; all were charged on May 21.

According to the plea agreements, the defendants admitted to manufacturing marijuana between March 2003 and February 2009. Initially, the operation was located in the basement of a single residence on Fifth Avenue South in Minneapolis, Minn. A second location was established at a residence on Third Avenue South in March 2005. On Feb. 10, ICE agents and task force officers executed search warrants at those two locations. They discovered 35 marijuana plants at the Third Avenue residence. 50 plants from the Fifth Avenue location had been harvested and moved to a residence on Longfellow Avenue South.

The four defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.

Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota is prosecuting the case.