WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Prosecutors say a scheme preyed on people desperate to stay in their homes. Now five suspects are charged with offering to help, but only if those people grow marijuana in their homes.

Several of the suspects were in court on Thursday.

It was described as an act of desperation — a Westminster home was going into foreclosure. But Jeremy Ridens said he was offered a way out. He simply had to grow a lot of marijuana.

Matt Perrenoud was the man, Ridens claimed, who was making the offer. The deal outlined in court documents.

“All monies paid toward removing the home from foreclosure and the set-up of the grow operation would be paid back,” a court document said.

Perrenoud was arrested after a 2-year-long investigation. It began when an unnamed neighbor got suspicious and contacted police.

“There were quite a few people out here I’ve never seen before,” neighbor Sherwood Peterson said.

Peterson lives right next door. CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger told him about how Ridens tried to save his house from foreclosure.

“That’s one way, I guess, to beat the bad economy, but that’s not what I would think of choosing as a career,” Peterson said.
space Scheme: Grow Pot, Avoid Foreclosure

None of the neighbors were pleased to find a marijuana grow house in a neighborhood filled with families.

“I think having it in a house with children around is just not right,” neighbor Fred Lohr said.

In fact there were children living right in Stephen Dabney’s house on Oakwood in Westminster where agents say marijuana was being grown.

Dabney told drug agents he was out of work and he and his wife had several children to support, so he grew more than 30 pounds of pot in return for help on the rent, electricity and groceries.

Grow houses are appearing in more and more neighborhood homes as a means of providing of cover. With 124,000 people now on the state medical marijuana registry, the demand for pot is growing as home values are falling.

“I suppose for some it’s a very desperate act,” Sgt. Jim Gerhardt with the North Metro Drug Task Force said. “People are looking at a financial collapse and then they’re seeing how much money there is to be made in marijuana.”

Perrenoud told investigators he had a medical marijuana card and was providing some of his grow to a dispensary in Denver.

But a former owner, Zac Maas, now an employee at the dispensary, told Sallinger Perrenoud is no longer working with them and they had no knowledge of the alleged scheme.

“It’s a bad deal,” Maas said. “We don’t condone any of that. We do everything by the book here.”

The dispensary was not charged. Perrenoud and the two others are charged with racketeering.

An informant said the money from the operation was buried in South Dakota. One grower claims Perrenoud threatened to kill him and his family.

Stephen and Carla Dabney also face charges of child abuse for having the children in a grow house.

Comments (18)
  1. Jim says:

    Oh my god, what terrible people….burn them at the stake! After hearing this story, I had a polycarbonate bubble put over my big SUV and reconfigured my cable package so that my television only allows reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond” to be shown. Headin’ on over to the Costco in Castle Rock to buy the same patio set as my neighbor two doors down, mine is three years old and the HOA says its purple cushions are making kids in the development consider “alternative lifestyles.” Thank God that CBS4 investigated this further, what’s next, growing baby-ruining machines? I say give them the death penalty… when they die All American, I mean Almighty God will throw an apple pie in their face, force a Big Mac down their throat, and then quote John Wayne while hitting homerun to win the World Series! What an unconscionable crime, why can’t everyone live a wholesome suburban life with well thought out priorities like all the good people do?

    1. O says:

      I agree. The media in Colorado tries so hard to alienate the citizenry. Why?

      1. Chris D says:

        Won’t someone please think of the children???

      2. Anthony S says:

        i understand about the kids, but do some research, medical marijuana isnt fully studied and never will be because of federal government. There is a case in california where a 7 year had a severe case of autism, no medicine would work, except for hash, I dont care if marijuana is legal nationwide, but it DOES have medical purpose. Next time you watch a commercial for any ind of medication listen to the side effects. Luseta* helps you sleep, but you might have suicidal tendencies, blurred vision, abnormal sleeping behaviors. I thought Luesta was to help you sleep? To all people who think Marijuana does not have medical purposes needs to do some research. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyqRae1g2CI watch that video its only 6 mins long.

  2. Native says:

    Sensationalist garbabe. At one moment its hard times and mortgage payments made in weed and the next it’s death threats and child abuse. How exactly were those dots connected? They may as well have relased other sources indicting illegal aliens smuggling uranium out of the artic to power a sweat shop in Aurora… what exactly was “investigated” here?

  3. Fred Joerg says:

    This may be a sign of things to come. Should banks notify the DEA when someone is getting ready to go into foreclosure? What a waste of the peoples’ tax dollars.

  4. Late on my mortgage says:

    This guy is a Jerk and deserves to have the book thrown at him ! what he did is illegal and immoral

  5. don says:

    Sounds like the guy got busted growing some pot and is trying to shift blame now. Nobody makes you stay in your home (when you can no longer afford to) and grow marijuana (around your children), where’s the personal responsibility here?

  6. are you serious? says:

    agreed, knowing this person, i know he wouldnt force or threaten any of these actions. he may have offered, and i am sure they willingly accepted. Jeremy (also know him as well) may have been offered to do this, but he ACCEPTED to do so, was not FORCED.

  7. clark says:

    Wow! Would be nice if the whole story was there. One man was legal to grow form serious head injury he grew extra to sell to the grow stores which was legal! He is now seeking case against the state! The pot was grown in basement where kids werent allowed I dont agree with all that happened or how it went down but there are more reasons and if they reported all the FACTS noone would have much to say if they knew the whole story!! It had nothing to do with forclosure for him! He was growing for personal use til asked to grow for the store in which was legal and sold to them!!! WOW! I know I read things and quickly judge but to know the whole story and see it half assed on here is wrong! They should get all the facts!

    1. not clark who thinks like this says:

      I hope there is alot of others CLARKS cause this isnt ME and I don’t agree with what happened or what was going on…..but Colorado passed that bill to grow and use if medical reasoning.. I dont care either way I don’t use or sell and I think whatever happens happens…

  8. BLAH BLAH BLAH says:

    I guess I am just lost! They say all were doing to save their house but Dabney wasn’t he was renting and he was a legal grower and trusted to sell to the stores! You get a legal card and an amount you are allowed to grow is what I am told! HE shouldn’t of had the kids there should of rented a place to grow! The law found reason to search and seize and I agree but I know more to it then they are leading on! Stephen was the only one using the pot in the house! They tested his wife and kids and no one else tested positive! They got the kids back with in a month and this isn’t something they would ever do again! I myself would of never grew if I was given legal right to use I would just buy from the stores! They are on every corner! I am sure the opportunity showed itself to him to make money and thought to be legal! I know most charges are dropped and they are pursuing damage charges to the state! He doesn’t grow now and will never do that again! This was a huge eye opener and still dealing with it at this time but had nothing to do with foreclosure! He did make extra money to pay bills and food but wasn’t like he was banking on this!! I guess depends on how you chose to look at this,…eyes wide open or eyes wide SHUT? There are legal use and grow laws or Where would the stores get their product? They reach out to those legal and buy from them too…Still happening here and now… They are allowed to grow certain amounts and state has their info could search their homes at anytime and YES would find weed inside if they got their license to GROW!!! Not rocket science just there is more to it… Wouldn’t make such a GREAT story if they opened with what the STATE passed and what was LEGAL and to GROW inside their homes too…Then to say they found these people who HAVE license growing…kinda not interesting to me!! There is more then ONE side to every story we all know that!! There are always going to be people who don’t agree or like it and speak out all the time but there are many reasons it is NEEDED to easy pain and prolong life some people really rely on the use!! None of us ADULTS were born yesterday and there are so many people who do use and self medicate! Life is crazy and there are lots of things going on out there but we need to open our eyes and see that maybe …just maybe … things aren’t completely what we see and hear???

    1. real facts says:

      so let me get this right u blah blah blah, are saying it was wrong for the guy that was losing his house to do this crime,but for stephen it was ok because he had better reasons, like kids to support,bills to pay and by law he was able to smoke it and grow AND SALE it with kids in the house, also im sorry but have u ever heard of a drug dealer not making bank on selling drugs (come on) you can sugar coat this all u want its there in black and white this will stay with him & shame the families name for ever,this is not normal living and no children should ever be expose to a living in a home with such selfish parents or family knowing this was going on and doing nothing about it,because times are hard with money, we can turn our heads all we want but sooner or later judgement day will be called and u cant talk your way out of something that is wrong in so many ways, sounds to me like the family members walk & live with blinders on, but let me tell u the rest of the world can see this for what it is. & by the way the reason he is aloud to smoke it is from a head injury was because he got into a fight with his brother over drugs because his mom found drugs in the house and flushed them down the toilet 15yrs ago so its always been about drugs, ( NO SUGAR COAT NEEDED ITS A FACT EVERYONE IN WAUCONDA IL KNOWS THE STORY)

      1. an EX with an AXE to grind.,.. says:

        I don’t know what is the REAL issue here but seems like someone has a axe to grind on an EX. I got this link from a friends page was on there three times thought must be something realllly bad…But I looked more and more into this story there are 3 more news casts this is a YEAR old and it is LEGAL to grow, sell and buy out there. I know your a great mom and kids are lucky to have you but all things happen for a reason and GOD has a plan..Is there something else you are looking to get? Do you now know people who smoke weed? Drink and drive? Steal? ANYTHING? cause all illegal should we look for their cases in local county papers? I mean really he has done something WORNG big time but he is hte one who has to answer for it and deal with it.. I guess you just get justification from this? Guess he will never get the kids? OK then…good but to drudge up the reason why he is injured? YOU knew it personally from Stepehn himself it was WAUCONDA knowledge but you want everyone to praise you and hate him…YOU did it.,…. so you trashed your kids father…YAY! what is next? He has issues obviously and you know all his secrets…WOW,,,, Bet no one else has a past or ever done something wrong…there is no sugar coating… this was wrong in sooo many ways but HOW many times you going to POST on your page?? Probably all you talk about to everyone you know!!!

      2. Concerned Citizen says:

        The difference is an Ex With An Axe to Grind is that Stephen has been on quite a whirlwind of stupidity for many years. Most of which include, not providing any support, calling and harassing his kids and their mother. And now, he gets caught doing something he says was to help provide support in which he never paid. The fact is, he turned his house into a drug house with kids living there. End of story. Stay on track.

  9. Forest Gump says:

    Stupid is as stupid does… There are 3 sides to every story; one side, the other side and the truth. Will it ever be known? Who knows. I’m sure the police will try to bolster what they did and the potheads will scheme to make them be helpless in the situation. People will make a judgment based on BS, facts or what they feel. You be the judge and think about everything you have been taught, you’ve learned from pre-school through college.

    I don’t recall pot growing 101 in the ciriculumn. As adults, which I’m guessing the Dabney’s are, they made a decision based on what morals, values, education and upbringing they had. We all are taught that we are in control of our own destiny and we reap what we sew. The nerve of trying to leverage kids, groceries, electricity and such is plain stupidity. You have a choice in life. I guess some people just don’t care about anyone except themselves. To my dear sons and daughters, I know your young and don’t understand but I need to go get stoned now. It’s OK, the funny smell you inhale makes you feel weird and we don’t know the long-term affect it will have on you or your kids, but don’t worry about it because I wont. I have no regard for you or anyone else. Love Dad! Way to go Mom!

    Go get a job and make your life worth something. Think about what your legacy will be. There are companies hiring, whether you have skills or not. Yeah I guess you could live off unemployment for a little while and suck us all dry.Come to think of it, that’s what a leach does if you don’t do something about it. I am a parent and could not imagine letting my spouse do this around my kids. What message does it send?

    1. Concerned Citizen says:

      Well said Forest!!!

  10. Look at the whole issue says:

    Wow, some people don’t ever grow up! This is stupid over pot! There are things out there that are worse! Like for instance mother’s using meth while pregnant! Let’s look at the facts. In Colorado it is legal to have weed and grow weed if you have your license. They did yes maybe they took advantage of that, but that is really the only mistake here. It’s not child abuse to grow weed behind locked doors, and look at things the kids were returned so there was no child abuse there. I am sure the Coloradr authorities looked deeply into this and found nothing wrong! Stop bringing up the past I know that everyone has a past, but really did they ever post stuff about you. I think we all need to remember IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO SAY DON’T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL! I hope that these people learn from there lesson which I am sure they have, and enjoy life! As long as everything would just be done. The stress I am sure it is causing and not just for them for the children as well! Pot is really not that big of an issue and really you think it would have become legal if it was terrible? So people really look at the issues at hand! These people are probably good people and don’t need any added stress at this time!

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