Tips from informants led officers to a Cloquet home Thursday where they discovered 133 marijuana plants valued at $80,000, police said.
Thomas Douglas Moynan, 47, was arrested Thursday without incident and charged Friday morning with felony possession of a controlled substance.
Police said they acted on multiple tips about a growing operation and entered the home on the 100 block of 17th Street with a search warrant about 7 p.m.
Neighbors contacted by the News Tribune said they were aware of the bust and frequently saw people visiting the home.
"There would always be strange people coming in and out of his garage at all hours of the day," neighbor Jane Doble said. "If I had to suspect anyone in the neighborhood involved in the drug bust, it would be him."
Thursday night around the time of the raid, Doble said she saw several cars outside of Moynan's home. She said the lights were on in the home too. At 9 p.m., she looked out the window the lights were off, and the cars were gone.
"The local police department went to Moynan's apartment on numerous occasions," said Doble, adding of the arrest: "The neighborhood is happy."
Neighbor Joan Kunze said she was surprised by the news but she also saw random people stopping at the home.
"I would see a lot of people coming in and out of the house every so often." Kunze said. "I usually know of everything that happens in the neighborhood, but I didn't expect this to happen."
Attempts by the News Tribune to speak with relatives of Moynan were unsuccessful. A woman answering a phone listed to a relative said she knew of the raid but hung up when asked if she knew Moynan.
As with any criminal defendant, Moynan remains innocent until proven guilty.
Minnesota court records for Moynan include a 2010 conviction for felony theft, later deemed a misdemeanor at sentencing, and a 1996 guilty plea for fifth-degree assault.
Police said Moynan was in the apartment when they arrived. Detectives said they found a room separated from a kitchen by a tarp. Inside, they said they found plants, fans, lights and power supplies. Some of those mechanical items, and dirtballs once held in planters, could be seen outside the home Friday.
Police had been told that Moynan had two rooms with plants, one of them behind a false wall. Police found that room as well, and said they saw a scene similar to the one near the kitchen.
Police said they also found two grocery bags of harvested marijuana and scales, bongs, pipes, grinders and roach clips.
Deputy Police Chief Terry Hill said marijuana operation busts are uncommon for his department.
News Tribune staff writer Mike Creger contributed to this report.