By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
The trial of a 72-year-old Liberal man arrested last October for allegedly growing marijuana began Monday, and jurors heard from several witnesses, including four law enforcement officers.
In his opening statement, prosecuting attorney Dennis Jones, an assistant attorney general with the State of Kansas, outlined what jurors would see throughout the trial against Albert Oneil Greeson.
In addition to several law enforcement witnesses from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Seward County Sheriff’s office, Jones said the jury would likewise see 67 items of evidence.
He said the case started with a traffic stop in Haskell County, and the trooper in charge of that stop, J.C. Parr of the Kansas Highway Patrol was the first to take the stand Monday.
Parr testified that he was patrolling on U.S. Highway 83 in Haskell County on the night of Oct. 21, 2012, the day prior to Greeson’s arrest, and the trooper stopped a vehicle going 93 miles per hour.
Parr then said the vehicle was driven by Adriana Solis, 26, of Pueblo, Colo., and when he came up to the window to approach Solis, the trooper said he became aware of the smell of marijuana.
After Parr asked her if she had marijuana, the trooper said Solis led her to the trunk of the vehicle and showed Parr a bag of marijuana. Parr then placed Solis and two other female suspects under arrest.
Parr said Solis told her that other vehicles were coming down the road with marijuana, but after patrolling the road for a little longer, Parr discovered there was not a second vehicle.
Solis did, however, inform Parr of a cultivation operation in Seward County, and she later admitted to lying to officers about parts of her story.
Solis next took the stand, and upon questioning from Jones, she said she told Parr she was on her way back to Colorado and had been trimming marijuana in Kansas, following the lead of her boss, who she identified as Albert Perez.
Solis said the purpose of trimming marijuana was to get it ready for selling, and she said on the night of the stop, she was not aware that she was in Kansas.
Under cross examination from Greeson’s attorney, J. Gregory Swanson, Solis said she thought Perez was taking the marijuana back to Colorado for dispensary.
Perez, Solis said, sells marijuana out of his dispensary for legal medical purposes in Colorado.
Solis later said marijuana was being grown in a corn field on a property later identified as being owned by Larry Joe Lambert.
Solis then testified that she had struck a deal with attorneys that would have charges dropped against her in exchange for her testimony in the case.
Swanson’s opening statement seemed to indicate that Lambert was selling marijuana to make some quick money to pay to his now ex-wife as part of a divorce settlement in 2011. Solis said she had heard about the divorce from other people on the property, but not from Lambert himself.
Two detectives and a deputy from the Seward County Sheriff’s office later took the stand, the first being Deputy J.W. Sellars, who said on the night of Oct. 21 that he had gotten a call from Detective Ryan McVey, who later testified, to meet him at a property at Road 17 in Seward County – Lambert’s property.
Sellars performed surveillance work on the property throughout the night and into the morning, looking to see what vehicles were coming and going from the land. He said he only noticed one vehicle – a truck later determined as being owned by Greeson.
McVey’s testimony began with a call he received from fellow detective Jared Wagenseller of the possibility of what McVey called a “grove operation.”
McVey, a longtime Seward County resident, said once Wagenseller described the location and buildings of the house on Road M, he instantly knew the property.
“Only Hwy. 83 had a house that matched that description,” McVey said.
Wagenseller, McVey said, later told him to set up surveillance on the property, and during the about two-hour period he observed the land, McVey said he did not see any traffic.
At 6 a.m. on Oct. 22, McVey said he, Wagenseller and Sellars met at the sheriff’s office to set up a search warrant to be conducted on the property.
Assisting the sheriff’s office in conducting the search warrant were KBI agents and the sheriff’s Critical Response Team. As the search warrant was being conducted, McVey said Sellars called him stating Greeson’s truck was approaching the property.
McVey said upon inspection of the property, he noticed orange bailing twine hanging from the rafters of a barn where he also found green vegetation near the floor.
McVey said the team also investigated a property on Road D in Seward County, and after smelling what he detected to be marijuana, he likewise found orange twine and a green substance field tested to be marijuana. That property was owned by Greeson. McVey said the twine was to hang marijuana to dry.
Monday’s last witness, Wagenseller, said he became involved with the case after getting a phone call from a KBI agent. Wagenseller and the agent met Parr at the intersection of Hwy. 83 and U.S. Highway 160 in Seward County.
Wagenseller was given several exhibits to identify by Jones, including a copy of the search warrant and photos of six people, including Greeson and Perez.
During his time on the stand, Wagenseller was asked similar questions to those of McVey, and his testimony seemed to correspond with the earlier witness. Jones had not finished questioning Wagenseller when Monday’s court session ended. That examination was scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. this morning.