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Woman Facing Drug Charges After Locking Herself Out of Apartment

By Brett Snider, Esq. on November 24, 2014 12:50 PM

An Iowa woman is facing drug charges after police helped her regain entry into her locked apartment and allegedly found a miniature marijuana operation inside.

Jailin A. Turner, 19, was charged possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to affix drug tax stamp, and disorderly house. That last charge is likely due to allegations that when police arrived at Turner's house early Friday morning she was "yelling and kicking the window," reports the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

How did a lock-out turn into a drug bust?

Pot Plants and Scales in Plain View

The Iowa City police may have been just as surprised as we were that Turner was asking their help to get back into her pot-laden apartment. According to the Press-Citizen, police initially arrived in response to a report of a female banging on a window in Turner's apartment complex. Turner allegedly threw a plastic patio table "off the balcony in the direction of police officers" and alerted them that she had lost her keys to her apartment.

The fire department was called to break in Turner's door, but while inside her apartment, officers reportedly found:

  • Two bongs.
  • Two grinders,
  • An electronic scale, and
  • Two potted marijuana plants

Police didn't have a warrant to search Turner's home, but they didn't need one. Police often serve non-investigatory duties -- like helping residents who are locked out, or towing motorists who are stranded. Once legally inside her apartment, officers saw the bongs and scales in plain view, giving them probable cause to search the rest of the apartment for drugs.

Marijuana Charges

Just in case you were wondering, Iowa is not one of the few states that allows medical marijuana, or the fewer which have legalized recreational marijuana. In fact, possession of even a small amount of marijuana can be considered a Class D felony. Turner is facing drug possession charges for the two pot plants found in her apartment, but she's also facing charges for failing to pay taxes on them.

In Iowa, the state government expects its citizens to purchase tax stamps to be affixed to their illegal drugs. Each unprocessed marijuana plant is taxed at $750, and Turner apparently hadn't bought the tax stamps for the two plants found in her apartment. Unfortunately, failure to affix tax stamps is also a Class D felony -- punishable by up to five years in prison.

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