Troopers: 70-year-old arrested in Big Lake marijuana grow bust

Tegan Hanlon

Alaska State Troopers arrested a 70-year-old man in Big Lake Thursday after finding 112 marijuana plants growing in his cabin, according to charges in state court.

Troopers were called to a cabin on Boundary Road at 9:09 p.m. after receiving a report of a disturbance, according to an affidavit by Trooper Andrew Gault filed in state court. The dispatchers said two brothers were arguing outside the cabin and one was intoxicated, Gault said in the document.

Another trooper found one of the brothers inside the cabin but the other had left, according to the affidavit.

Gault followed footprints in the fresh snow outside the cabin down a foot trail, then up the steps of another cabin, according to the affidavit.

"While outside the cabin, I immediately detected what from my training and experience as a law enforcement officer was the strong odor of raw or un-burnt marijuana," Gault said in the affidavit.

Gault said the troopers were concerned for the safety of the missing brother because "he was intoxicated and left in the cold weather." Troopers knocked on the door and "the door opened," according to the affidavit. Inside, they found the brother along with another man, who was later identified as Ronald Henning. Gault said he saw marijuana grow lights and several live plants.

Henning gave consent for the troopers to search the cabin and admitted to growing and possessing the marijuana, Gault said in the affidavit. Henning provided troopers with a box containing bags he said he put marijuana in to sell and a digital postal scale, the affidavit said. It said troopers located 112 marijuana plants that had roots in the soil. Troopers also found a gun.

"As I was leaving the residence, I observed a blue bag by the door, I opened the bag and located a .22 caliber revolver," Gault said in the affidavit. "Henning stated he was a convicted felon and the firearm was given to him by a friend the week prior."

Henning had an active warrant for failing to appear for arraignment after being charged with misconduct involving a controlled substance. He has been convicted for marijuana charges in the past, according to court documents.

Troopers arrested Henning and took him to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility. He faces misconduct charges involving controlled substances and weapons. He was still in custody on Saturday.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.