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Ex-trooper Pleads Guilty In Marijuana Case

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Stock image of marijuana. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Stock image of marijuana. (Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A former South Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has admitted to his role in a federal marijuana case.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles says 30-year-old Kurt Steffen of Summerville pleaded guilty Monday to manufacturing and possessing with intent to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants.

Steffen will be sentenced later and faces up to 40 years in prison. The patrol says Steffen was a trooper from 2007 until his 2009 resignation.

While a trooper, prosecutors say Steffen was part of a large-scale indoor marijuana growing operation.

Nettles says Steffen grew the drugs on a five-acre tract of land in Ridgeville starting in May 2008. During a January 2010 search, deputies found over 300 marijuana plants there.

As part of his guilty plea, Steffen admitted transporting the drugs in his Highway Patrol vehicle.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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