RHINELANDER (WAOW) – Sixty-six marijuana plants were found growing in the home of a Rhinelander High School English teacher, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
“There was as level of sophistication to the grow operation, indicating the person who operated the system had conducted research or training,” the document said.
Joshua Juergens, 35, was charged Friday with two felonies, manufacturing at least 50 marijuana plants and possession of a controlled substance, and four misdemeanors, including two counts of theft.
During Juergens' initial appearance in Oneida County Circuit Court, a judge set a $1,500 cash bond, online court records said.
Juergens, who joined the Rhinelander High faculty in August, was arrested Wednesday at his Town of Pine Lake home north of Rhinelander, authorities said.
Juergens is on paid suspension as a teacher pending the outcome of the investigation, said Teri Maney, the Rhinelander School District's director of instruction.
The marijuana grow room in Juergens' basement included a microscope that was labeled as belonging to the district, the complaint said.
Investigators recovered a mixture of prescription tablets and capsules in bottles that were labeled with names of three central Wisconsin people, the complaint said.
Two record players, a silver Apple MacBook Air computer and three other laptop/notebook computers believed to be owned by the school or a Minnesota woman who conducted some training at the high school were found in Juergens' home, the complaint said.
Juergens admitted taking scientific and laboratory equipment from the high school after discussing its usefulness with another teacher, the complaint said.
“Juergens stated he found the Apple MacBook in his school bag while at home and did not know where it came from,” the complaint said.
A Maple Grove, Minn., woman reported she lost an Apple MacBook worth $1,900 while conducting software training at the high school in September, the complaint said.
Juergens told investigators he had permission from another teacher to take the small school laptop computers and another laptop was issued to him for his use, the complaint said.
Juergens said he grew marijuana not to sell it but smoke it and allow others to smoke it, the complaint said.
Juergens is to return to court Thursday for a continued initial appearance. No attorney was listed for him in online court records Friday.
The maximum punishment for the two felony charges is a combined 15 years in prison, according to court records.