A 38-year-old litigation assistant in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office grew more than 100 marijuana plants in her Air Park home for more than three years, according to the Nebraska State Patrol.
Kimberly Meidell, who worked in the AG’s office for nine years, was arrested about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, along with her 38-year-old boyfriend, Eric Trost, after patrol investigators raided their house at 4140 W. Leighton Ave., according to an affidavit for the couple's arrest.
Investigators found more than a pound of ready-to-sell marijuana, 131 plants in different stages of growth and marijuana paraphernalia, the affidavit says.
“The allegations against Ms. Meidell are serious. Her employment has been terminated,” Deputy Attorney General David Cookson said Thursday.
Attorney General Jon Bruning spokeswoman Shannon Kingery declined to talk about Meidell’s duties and responsibilities.
The investigation began in May 2012, when State Patrol Investigator Nate Jacobsen got a tip from a fellow investigator in Omaha who saw a man loading several bags of fertilizer into a silver 2005 Chevy Trailblazer registered to Meidell, the affidavit says. The Omaha investigator learned that Trost lived at the Lincoln address on the registration with Meidell, and used a DMV photo to confirm he was the man seen loading fertilizer.
During surveillance later that month, Jacobsen found black plastic covering an entire window on the house’s southeast corner, he said in the affidavit. A vent tube — often used by growers to release heat and odor — came out of the center of the window.
In September, he said, he went to the house three times to rifle through the trash and found a paper towel with burnt residue that tested positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Moreover, Lincoln Electrical System records show Meidell and Trost used 2 1/2 times more electricity between January 2010 and March 2013 than owners of a similar-sized house during the same time.
Marijuana growers use high-powered lamps to mimic sunlight the plants need to grow for 10 to 12 weeks indoors and then bud for another two to four weeks.
Meidell bought the 1,346-square-foot house in September 2009 for $156,250.
The one-story, tan house is now worth $148,500, according to the Lancaster County Assessor’s website.
Armed with a search warrant, investigators raided the house Wednesday.
They arrested Meidell and Trost at her house and jailed them on suspicion of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver.