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Iowa mayor, husband charged after marijuana found in basement during search for fugitive

KETV Omaha logo KETV Omaha 1/18/2019

a person holding a gun: Jamaica mayor charged

Jamaica mayor charged
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A small-town central Iowa mayor and her husband have been arrested after Guthrie County sheriff's deputies said they found a marijuana growing operation in the couple's basement.

Authorities made the discovery after they received a tip that Rodney Halterman, who was wanted on an arrest warrant for attempted murder in Story County, was hiding in a home owned by 50-year-old Jamaica Mayor LaDonna Kennedy and her husband, 58-year-old Randy Kennedy.

Deputies said Halterman, 18, is the foster sibling of Randy Kennedy's granddaughter. Halterman was in a fight with another man Saturday afternoon when the gun he was holding went off and a bullet hit 19-year-old Iesha Jabbar in the chest, police said. He then fled the scene.

While looking for Halterman in Jamaica, deputies called for a search warrant because they smelled an "overwhelming odor of raw marijuana" coming from the house. After a search warrant was issued, law enforcement authorities found 18 marijuana plants, nine packages of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Each package was estimated to contain 4-5 ounces of marijuana.

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

RELATED: Authorities arrest man suspected of shooting woman in chest

The sheriff did not indicate why the Kennedys had that much marijuana in the basement.

Halterman was not inside the home; he was later arrested by Greene County sheriff's deputies in Churdan, Raccoon Valley Radio reported.

The Kennedys were arrested Wednesday night and released Thursday from the Guthrie County Jail on their own recognizance.

They were charged with manufacture with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and two counts of failure to affix a drug stamp. A court date has not been set.

City Council members said they are planning an emergency meeting to determine the mayor's future.

"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. said.

KCCI contacted the Jamaica mayor at her home, but no one answered the door.

The Dallas and Greene county sheriff's offices, as well as the Iowa State Patrol, assisted the Guthrie County Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

READ MORE:Iowa mayor, husband charged after marijuana found in basement during search for fugitive

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