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Trial date set for 2 accused of growing marijuana in house with children

Trial date set for 2 accused of growing marijuana in house with children

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Two people accused of growing marijuana in a Bismarck home where three children younger than 15 live have pleaded not guilty to six charges and will go to trial in March.

Elvia Ramos, 32, and Cesar Navarro, 27, were arrested in October after officers executed a search warrant at a North Second Street residence. The search revealed plants in the budding stage and equipment for growing marijuana, Police Officer Scarlett Vetter said.

The plants were in an unlocked room accessible to the children, she said, adding that Ramos told her the children knew about the plants and were “educated about the proper use.” Ramos said the pot was being grown for medicinal use by Navarro, according to Vetter.

Romas and Navarro appeared in court Monday as co-defendants. Vetter under questioning from Navarro’s attorney, Todd Ewell, said there was nothing found during the search that showed the marijuana was being sold. Ramos’ attorney, Amy Pikovsky, asked if police found “distributable quantities,” to which Vetter replied she was unsure but that it appeared the marijuana was being grown for personal use.

Whether the marijuana is being sold is not the issue in establishing probable cause to move to trial on a drug manufacturing charge, South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick said. Romas and Navarro pleaded not guilty to that felony charge and to felony child neglect, along with three misdemeanor drug charges and a drug infraction. Romanick set March 12 as their trial date.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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