Jury selection is scheduled to begin this morning in the case of a former state trooper accused of conspiring to grow hundreds of pounds of marijuana on his land in Ridgeville.
Kurt Steffen, 30, worked as a state trooper from July 2007 until his resignation on Dec. 23, 2009. A month after he left the Highway Patrol, Dorchester County narcotics investigators seized some 310 pot plants from his Dorchester County property, authorities said.
The growing operation had been under way for some time and led to multiple harvests of marijuana on Steffen's property, prosecutors said.
Steffen was not arrested at the time of the January 2010 raid, but two of his co-defendants in the federal case were taken into custody. A federal indictment accuses him of conspiring with those men and three others to distribute at least 1,000 marijuana plants. The indictment spans his time as a state trooper.
Steffen recently tried to get the evidence against him tossed out of court, arguing that it resulted from investigators trespassing on his property without a warrant, in violation of his constitutional rights. A federal judge, however, upheld the search, ruling that detectives were within their authority to search the 5-acre tract because it was an uninhabited open field.
Check back with postandcourier.com for more on this story.