Duluth (MN) man convicted in assault with scooter case Derrick Ford State charges brought in separate marijuana growing operations in Duluth and Hermantown have been dismissed while the St. Louis County Sheriffs Office continues its investigation. Attorneys representing the alleged growers said they have heard that federal charges might be coming against their clients, but said that information came through informal channels and couldnt be confirmed. Its not unusual in cocaine cases for state charges to be dismissed because local authorities seek federal prosecution instead, where convictions result in stiffer penalties. Federal prosecution of marijuana cases in the Duluth area is rarer. While I cannot confirm or deny the existence of a federal investigation I can tell you it is not unusual for the U.S. Attorneys Office to prosecute large marijuana cases, particularly if the players are connected to other substantive illegal activity, the drug amounts are substantial or the decision is made in concert with local prosecutors that federal prosecution would be beneficial, said Jeanne Cooney, director of community relations for the Minnesota U.S. Attorneys Office. Federal prosecutors and county attorneys often discuss the charges available in each jurisdiction, the possible and likely sentences, and any problems that could arise in a particular case in each jurisdiction, Cooney said. Sgt. Bill Evans of the St. Louis County Sheriffs Office and Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Leslie Beiers, who heads her offices criminal division, declined to comment on the marijuana cases other than to say that the investigation is ongoing. The Hermantown growing operation was busted Nov. 3, when the St. Louis County Emergency Response Team executed a search warrant at 3669 Haines Road. Deputies located 363 marijuana plants in various stages of growth. Michael Larry King, 22, was charged with the felony sale of marijuana, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment. Matthew Daniel Blank, 23, was charged with felony sale of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance. The charges against both men were dismissed on Feb. 12. The Duluth operation was busted Nov. 24. St. Louis County sheriffs deputies uncovered a 204-marijuana-plant-growing operation at 226 S. 56th Ave. W. in West Duluth. James Arthur Lyons, 57, was charged with selling marijuana, possessing a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His son, James II, 29, was charged with selling and possessing marijuana. The sons girlfriend, Melanie Ann Cole, 29, also was charged with selling and possessing marijuana. The charges against all three were dismissed on Jan. 20.