Three arrested for cannabis grow operation in rural Centralia

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Three people are being held in the Washington County Jail after sheriff’s deputies, along with Illinois State Police and SWAT officers executed a search warrant on a home in rural Centralia Wednesday afternoon revealed multiple cannabis plants.

According to Washington County Sheriff’s Detective Tommy Moss, a marijuana grow operation was found inside the home and in addition to other items, multiple cannabis sativa plants were seized.

Following the search, 35-year-old Jesse L. Kempfer, and 67-year-old Tommie L. Kempfer, both of Centralia, along with 42-year-old Melanie D. Kempfer, of Irvington, were arrested and charged with unlawful production of cannabis sativa plants.

The three were formally charged Thursday in Washington County Court with Class 4 felony production of between 5 and 20 cannabis plants.

Bail was set at $20,000 each and they all pleaded not guilty. Melanie Kempfer was appointed a public defender, while Jesse Kempfer’s request for court appointed counsel was denied. Tommie Kempfer indicated he would be hiring private counsel. Tommie and Melanie are both scheduled for November 17 preliminary hearings, while Jesse Kempfer is scheduled for a November 24 preliminary.