Items linked to drug probe
Investigators seize laptops, papers at home of UAlbany police investigator, husband
By PAUL NELSON timesunion.com
Updated 09:46 p.m., Thursday, May 19, 2011
This one really messes with my moral compass.....This woman is scum......karma found ya detective! -UA
DUANESBURG -- Authorities seized several laptops, marijuana and "assorted paperwork" from the Duanesburg home and the work and personal vehicles of a highly respected University at Albany police detective and her husband as part of a sting involving an alleged marijuana-growing operation, according to court papers.
Besides the Colonial-style residence at 668 Suits Road, the search warrant issued Monday by Duanesburg Town Justice Robert Butler Sr. also covered the 1,400-square-foot pole barn where authorities allege Wendy and Kenneth Knoebel were growing about 100 pot plants.
The two, who face a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, were released Wednesday after an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Randolph Treece in Albany.
Wendy Knoebel, 48, is an investigator at the University at Albany campus. Kenneth Knoebel turns 44 at the end of the month.
Attorney Adam Parisi of Schenectady, who is listed in court documents as the couple's lawyer, did not return calls Thursday seeking comment.
UAlbany spokesman Karl Luntta said Knoebel's employment status was a personnel matter and declined to say if she had been suspended.
A feature story on Knoebel was removed from the UAlbany website by Luntta. He said he took it down because of all the attention that would be focused on Knoebel. In the story, she is highlighted for compassion toward students, and she talks about sifting through garbage and laundry for investigations and making arrests.
"What really separates her from other highly skilled professional is that she's relentless," UAlbany police Chief J. Frank Wiley said in the story. "She has the eye of the tiger. There is no one like her anywhere."
The feature story included a photo of her and several other UAlbany officers with President George Philip.
A federal felony complaint filed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration indicates State Police investigators raided the Schenectady County property on Monday. Police said they found marijuana plants growing inside a pole barn with heated floors.
Police said they also found small amounts of marijuana in the couple's home.
Knoebel became a SUNY police officer in 1991. She moved to Tennessee in the mid-1990s and continued her police career there before returning to the SUNY police force. She was assigned to the University at Albany campus in 1995.
In 1997, Knoebel, a certified evidence technician, was promoted to investigator, according to the university's website. In 2002, she received an award for "excellence in police services," according to the university.
Nearly three dozen demonstrators gathered Thursday outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Spokane, urging the removal of marijuana from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of drugs considered to have no medicinal value.
They also are circulating petitions asking Spokane Mayor Mary Verner to declare the sale of medical marijuana to doctor-approved users to be the lowest law enforcement priority in the city. Supporters say they’ve already gathered more than 1,000 signatures and hope to present them Monday night to the Spokane City Council.
“We’ll be out here as long as it takes,” said Rhonda Duncan, speaking through a megaphone at the Lincoln statue. “Please don’t let these medical marijuana patients suffer.”
Earlier this week, about a dozen medical marijuana advocates asked Spokane City Council members for support in achieving legal recognition for commercial dispensaries. State lawmakers are debating legislation that would regulate the production and sale of medical marijuana across Washington. Even if a bill wins approval, however, and is signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire, it likely would take months to take effect as state agencies draft rules for implementing its provisions.
Prompting the increased push for legal clarity was a Spokane County Superior Court trial last week. One of Spokane’s first medical marijuana dispensary operators, Scott Shupe, was convicted by jurors on drug-trafficking charges for selling marijuana to doctor-approved users. Drug investigators estimate there are about 40 medical marijuana dispensary operations in Spokane County.
Duncan, who owns the dispensary Club Compassion, said she’s worried federal agents may begin raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in Spokane. Dispensaries in Montana were raided last week as part of a federal investigation.
Although U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said federal authorities won’t prosecute medical marijuana cases that are complying with state law, Washington’s medical marijuana law is poorly crafted and ambiguous. Among other things, the state law contains no mention of commercial dispensaries, leading to differing interpretations over how medical marijuana users are to legally obtain marijuana.
“We’re trying to get the feds to notice that we want them to leave medical marijuana patients alone,” said Charles Wright, owner of the South Perry Street dispensary the THC Pharmacy. “They’re attacking the sick and dying.”