Man arrested in shroom growing case
A 26-year-old Steamboat Springs man was arrested on suspicion of growing psilocybin mushrooms in a condominium on Burgess Creek Road.
Michael Benninghoven was arrested early Thursday morning and charged later in the day with the unlawful manufacturing, dispensing and possession of a schedule I controlled substance. If convicted, Benninghoven faces a 4- to 12-year prison sentence.
The Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team made the arrest.
Steamboat Springs Police Officer Matt Harmon found mushrooms, equipment, chemicals, supplies and notes for growing psilocybin mushrooms inside Benninghoven’s residence at 1775 Burgess Creek Road, according to court documents.
Thomas Archibald, 28, of Steamboat Springs, also was arrested Thursday morning on charges of tampering with evidence and being an accessory to a crime. Police said Archibald tried to throw out evidence of Benninghoven’s operation, court records show.
Steamboat Police Sgt. Nick Bosick said GRAMNET was in the process of seeking a search warrant for Benninghoven’s residence at Xanadu Condominiums, when police received a tip that Benninghoven knew the agency was coming and could be removing items from his condo.
The anonymous source told police that Benninghoven was conducting illegal activities in his residence and purchased storage bins, mason jars and timers. Police conducted surveillance on the condo, and police said Archibald drove a truck that had a trash can in the bed from the condo Wednesday afternoon.
Harmon followed Archibald to the Chaparral apartments on Anglers Drive where Archibald dumped the trash in a Dumpster, police said. The trash had items commonly used for cultivating mushrooms, police said.
Archibald told Harmon that Benninghoven had asked him to help stack storage bins and pull plastic off the walls of his condo and then to take the trash and dump it at his apartment.
Employees at Xanadu Condominiums told police they saw Benninghoven taking black trash bags from the apartments to the Ski Time Square Dumpsters. That trash contained mason jars with a growing medium with fungus and syringes for fungal spores, police said.
Harmon contacted Benninghoven outside his condo. Police said Benninghoven admitted to growing psilocybin mushrooms.
Benninghoven consented to a search of his residence and showed Harmon his equipment, chemicals, supplies and notes for cultivating psilocybin mushrooms, police said.
Benninghoven and Archibald remain at the Routt County Jail. Benninghoven’s bail is $20,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. Archibald’s bail is $2,000.
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