Sheriff’s Dept. seizes 8-ft. pot plant

Sheriff’s Dept. seizes 8-ft. pot plant

Proctor man arrested for growing his own marijuana

A Proctor man is in jail and facing drug manufacturing charges after authorities discovered an eight foot tall marijuana plant in his back yard.

Mason Ross, 20, of 431 Peg Leg Lane, was arrested Monday and charged with fleeing police and manufacturing a controlled substance.

Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen said the Sheriff’s Department received an anonymous tip from the Crimestoppers line about a report of one and possibly several marijuana plants being grown on the property.

A deputy arrived at the residence along with a state wildlife officer and observed a white male in a blue shirt enter the residence. The two officers observed an eight foot tall marijuana plant growing behind a six foot privacy fence.

“That’s a big, ole tree,” Allen said. “Most likely he was getting ready to harvest it any day now.”

Officers knocked on the door but Ross refused to answer the door. They went around the back and attempted to make contact a second time but Ross again refused to answer.

Allen said the deputy noted that there was some kind of line connected to the tree which indicated it could have been boobytrapped in some manner.

The two officers went back to their car to get a camera when they noticed the suspect ran out of the back door and jumped the six foot fence. Officers set up a perimeter and called for additional units, including a K9 unite to help locate the suspect.

Ross was located by K9 “Argos” after about a 45 minute search and arrested. He was booked into the Crittenden County Jail on a misdemeanor fleeing charge and one count of felony manufacturing a controlled substance.

“Sounds like he’s a pretty good grower,” Allen said.

“We’ve gotten a bunch of the over the years, but that’s a pretty tall one.” better life and wanted to come to America. And they did that. They weren’t working glamorous jobs, but enough to make sure that I had good opportunities.”

Desai attended public schools and graduated with a degree in political science from University of California Davis. He moved to Helena after graduation to teach 5th-grade social studies as part of the Teach for America program.

Nine years later, Desai still calls Helena his home and today works as a project manager in the central office at Kipp Delta School.

“Teaching is a hard job,” Desai said. “We ought to pay our teachers more than they are being paid.”

Desai said the outcomes of the students he teaches and their parents are not good, and that they need a Congressman who will fight for issues to better improve their lives.

The median household income in Helena-West Helena is $18,662 and the per capita income is only $13,028. Over 41 percent of the population is below the poverty line.

Desai said he believes his message about investing more in education, affordable health care, investing in jobs, and making sure people are being paid decent wages in those jobs will resonate with voters at the polls in November.

“We think that message as opposed to taking away healthcare for millions of Americans, tax cuts for the richest Americans, of supporting crazy trade wars that hurt Arkansas farmers is the winning message,” Desai said.

Desai said he supports the ballot initiative in Arkansas to raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour and would like to see that get to $15 an hour eventually at the federal level.

“It is well past time to get working class families in Arkansas the raise that they deserve,” Desai said.

“There is ample evidence that the minimum wage in the state is not where it needs to be so that somebody who is working 40 hours a week does not have to live in poverty and should be able to afford a decent two bedroom house. And I do think it is time to raise it further.”

Agriculture is another issue where he differs from Crawford. Desai said President

Donald Trump’s trade

policies are hurting Arkansas farmers and that Crawford has not been critical enough of the president’s policy which has led to trade war with China and shut off other markets such as Cuba.

China imposed a 25 percent retaliatory tariff on $50 billion of American goods including soybeans,

rice, corn, and grain sorghum. China is the

world’s largest soybean importer. Arkansas ranks eleventh in total share of U.S. soybean sales of nearly $1.5 billion or 3.8 percent of total U.S. soybean receipts. A 25 percent tariff would result in a 14 percent loss of value and 19 percent decline in exports.

“I want to make sure they have the markets to sell their products,” Desai said.

“And right now protectionism has led to prices that have plummeted. You’re not getting a person fighting for you in Congressman Crawford, despite him trying to portray himself as that.”

Desai said Crawford has also not spoken out against any of the scandals in the Trump administration. If the Democrats recapture control of the House, he would support calls for the impeachment of President Trump.

“I think we are at the point where it is time to consider impeachment,” Desai said.

“Congressman Crawford has let this corruption go unchecked. He’s been a water boy for the president.

That’s what he’s been. But that’s the only thing a Democrat Congress will bring. They will bring some different policy direction. My actual agenda is healthcare.

It’s education. It’s infrastructure. Where is the investment in those things?”

Desai said that while he does believe a “blue wave” is coming in November that will give Democrats control of Congress, he’s been encouraged by his face-toface encounters and what he’s hearing from the voters in the 1st District.

“It’s coming. But you can’t count on that,” Desai said. “It only happens with hard work and I have been putting in the effort. I think any hesitancy because of the “D” or the fact that I have other attributes — the fact that I’m not “from here” or they look at my skin color — those things go away when I talk to them. They learn I’m actually not that scary and that I have more in common with them. I want them to have good affordable health care. I want to make sure their kids have a good education. I want to fix their roads.

“In July we visited all 30 counties. We’re really proud of that effort. It’s a rural district. Some counties have less than 10,000 people. But no county should be forgotten and ignored. We have our work cut out for us. But I think we have the wind at our

back a little bit.”

By Mark Randall