Iowa mayor, husband accused of growing marijuana in basement

Credit: Guthrie County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Guthrie County Sheriff's Office

The mayor of a central Iowa town and her husband are accused of running a marijuana-growing operation in the basement of their home, KCCI reported.

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LaDonna Kennedy, 50, who is the mayor of Jamaica, and her husband, Randy Kennedy, 58, were charged with manufacture with intent to deliver no more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of failure to affix a drug stamp, the Des Moines Register reported.

They were released from jail Thursday, KCCI reported.

The couple was arrested Wednesday by Guthrie County deputies after authorities received a tip that Rodney Halterman, 18, who was wanted on a attempted murder charge in Story County, was hiding in their home, KCCI reported.

Halterman, the foster sibling of Randy Kennedy’s granddaughter, was involved in a fight in Ames on Jan. 13 when the gun he was holding went off and a bullet struck Iesha Jabbar, 19, in the chest, the television station reported.

Halterman was not at the Kennedys' home when deputies arrived, the Register reported. He was later arrested in Greene County, according to KCCI.

Guthrie County deputies obtained a search warrant for the Kennedy home because they smelled an "overwhelming odor of raw marijuana" coming from the residence, KCCI reported.

Authorities found 18 marijuana plants, nine packages of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Each package was estimated to contain between 4 and 5 ounces of marijuana, the television station reported.

"We all know each other in Guthrie County, so it was a surprise," Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright told KCCI.

Guthrie, located 55 miles northwest of Des Moines, has about 220 residents, the Register reported.

Under Iowa law, elected city officials convicted of felonies can be removed from office by a city council vote or by a judge, the newspaper reported. City council members are planning an emergency meeting to discuss the mayor's future, KCCI reported.

"It's unreal that this would happen in a small town like this, with her being the mayor," Jamaica City Council member H.D. Meinecke Jr. told the television station.

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