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2 arrests in Aitkin marijuana operation

Two Aitkin residents were arrested and charged with controlled substance crimes for their involvement in the growing of marijuana, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Taunee L. Beekman, 64, Aitkin, was charged Monday in Aitkin County District Court with felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and two charges related to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jeffrey L. Baldridge, 51, Aitkin, was charged with felony aiding and abetting fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. Both are being held in the Aitkin County Jail.

Beekman’s and Baldridge’s arrests were the result of a search warrant executed by the sheriff’s department Friday at an Aitkin area residence. At the home officers found 362 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. Some plants were found outside of the residence in a greenhouse equipped with a watering system and fans. Inside the residence, officers found a basement outfitted with grow lights and a watering system.

Assisting the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department were the Aitkin Police Department, the North Central Drug Task Force, the State Patrol and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

A similar arrest was made Monday at a residence in Long Lake Township in Crow Wing County. 

In that case, Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division officers, acting on a tip from a concerned resident, executed a search warrant at the residence of James Martin Fanjoy, 49, on the 1000 block of Wicklund Road and seized 31 marijuana plants inside and outside the residence, along with equipment and chemicals used to grow marijuana. 

Fanjoy was charged Wednesday in Crow Wing County District Court with felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, felony domestic assault by strangulation, gross misdemeanor interfering with a 911 call and misdemeanor domestic assault.

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.