27 arrested in drug bust

A Grand Haven man was among more than two-dozen arrested in a West Michigan sweep that involved a federal agency.
Becky Vargo
Oct 18, 2013


Loretta Lemke said she was amazed to see about a dozen police officers, some with guns drawn, surround her neighbor’s home Wednesday morning.

“I walked into the kitchen and here’s a bunch of police walking down the sidewalk,” said the 85-year-old Grand Haven woman.

Local police were cooperating with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Kent Area Narcotics Team to execute one of several search warrants as part of a multi-county investigation Wednesday.

The warrants were executed at 28 locations as part of a joint narcotics investigation called Operation High Mileage. Officials said it involved the cultivation and sale of marijuana in several West Michigan counties.

Lemke’s Clinton Street neighbor, Douglas Lee Harjer, 63, was one of 27 people arrested in the sweep. Harjer has since been released from custody.

Harjer's wife, Chris Harjer, confirmed that there was a search at their home on Wednesday.

"They didn’t find anything," she said.

Chris Harjer said police “arrested a bunch of people who were growing medical marijuana.”

Her husband is licensed to grow medical marijuana, but he doesn’t do it at their Clinton Street home, she said.

“He was all legal,” she said.

Click the RELATED FILE below this story to download the joint task force's statement on the drug bust.

Police seized 500 marijuana plants and other assets identified as drug proceeds in the multi-county bust, officials said. A large number of the searches were conducted in Muskegon County.

A press release from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department said everyone arrested was arraigned Wednesday, but information on court dates was not available at the time.

Across the street from the Harjer home at Central High School, Principal Paul Kunde said it was "an exciting day." Grand Haven public safety officials contacted him early Wednesday morning to warn him of the impending event.

“They wanted us to move our kids to the other side of the building," Kunde said. "We did that. They had an officer stationed in the building while everything was going down."

No one was allowed to leave the school building once police called at about 10:30 a.m. with a five-minute warning.

Lemke said no police vehicles were visible as the officers walked through her yard to the Harjer home.

“I opened the door to see what was happening and an officer motioned for me to shut it,” she said.

Lemke said some officers banged hard on the Harjers' door while others went around to the back.

“They came out (of the house) and opened the garage real carefully,” she said. “They all went through there.”

A half-hour later, a couple of police officers came back and looked through her neighbors' car, Lemke said.

“They took a Meijer bag out and put it in the house,” she said. “Then they went back in the garage with their flashlights and looked and looked.”

Lemke said she never saw anything suspicious going on next door.

“They’ve lived there for 27 years,” she said. “They’ve been good neighbors.”

Two houses down, Julie Stanton said she surprisingly didn't see the police search.

“I work at home, but I didn’t hear or see anything,” she said.

Stanton said she would be surprised if anyone in their neighborhood was doing anything with drugs.

“But people can surprise you,” she said. “It’s bizarre.”

The people arrested on Wednesday:

Shawn Andrew Taylor

Molly Anne Taylor

Robert James Housley

Brandon Edward Goerbig

Braden Daniel Kasper

Kevin Lee Downey

Benjamin Allen Fialek

Nicholas Patrick Perri

Merribeth Devries

Dalton James Miller

Erin Nicole Forestier

William Ernest May

Calvin Joseph Brown

David James Searer

Curtis Daniel Fairchild

James Lee Moore

Douglas Lee Harjer

Lesley Ann Wimmer

Cody Andrew Frye

Kimberly Monique Adema

Robert Dorr White

Debora Kay Housley

Venessa Kay Housley

James Stanley Housley

Lori Lynne Larabel

Casie Lynne Hanis

Nathan Edward Hanis

CLICK HERE to see a WZZM-TV photo gallery of those arrested in the sweep.



Please already...surely there are better things for law enforcement to be doing. This is so damned hypocritical, I know "a lot" of officers, in almost all departments in the west Michigan area; these men and women are phenomenal, remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary, amazing, astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable; for the most part, but they sure as hell aren't choir boys, and girls, and unlike many (lying) politicians, they do inhale.

Wait, I gotta go, someone at the door...


Haha, it's just a neighbor asking for a pinch of herb!


Wanted to know if I could spare a bottle of scotch, his prescribed medicine isn't available right now.


Certainly does seem like much todo about nothing when there are so many other issues that could use some more attention.
There's gotta be some money in there somewhere as the great motivator. Make it legal, tax it and lets move on to larger problems.


You might be interested in knowing that the majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. About 72% say that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws are not worth the effort. This is pretty standard across the board, equally between Republicans and Democrats.

The largest group (29%) who oppose legalization are conservatives within the Republican party - big shocker there!

Tri-cities realist

I guess that makes me more of a libertarian.


Right! You know how conservatives like to control our personal lives, eliminate personal responsibility, with government involvement and control via law enforcement, more laws on the books and more money spent on enforcing them.

Just think - all these criminals arrested by the Feds can be incarcerated in an exploding prison population of privately-owned prisons, owned by cronies and making big bucks off government law enforcement following the laws put in place by conservatives who supposedly hate government interference - wink/wink.


Biggest waste of time and taxpayer money yet! People who need their legal meds are now restricted from them. Feds can go screw themselves, stay out of our state! We voted this in, let us take care of our own. Legalize it and tax it if you need the cash so bad, but leave the citizens alone!

Tri-cities realist

And you feel the same way about obamacare right? Keep the Feds out and let the states handle it, or is there a difference?


no connection. If the state would provide healthcare, it might be different.

Tri-cities realist

So it's about freebies, not intrusion by the federal govt, I get it now.


what freebies, explain please? You are just being a troll.

Tri-cities realist

Healthcare, food stamps, or any other federally subsidized program. I am merely pointing out the hypocrisy of welcoming all of these federal govt "benefits", and then complaining about the federal govt drug laws. If you invite the feds in, be prepared for what else they'll give you. I prefer to keep the federal govt out of most things, let the states handle it.

Troll? Are you a Yooper?


Who the hell ever said I welcomed food stamps? I have complained before about some of my own relation (ALL REPUBLICANS) nursing off the system, not working just because, not getting married so they don't lose benifits, etc (you must have missed that?). It is Republicans playing the system, not liberals...
And if you think they are handing out health insurance for free, you are a moron. I can afford insurance for the firat time in years and cannot be turned down for pre-existing conditions. I will pay, it is not free, and I am so glad you are subsidizing it for me.
Apples to oranges. Better go smoke some of your meds buddy.





Tri-cities realist


Mystic Michael

No, you don't "get it".


I so agree with all of these comments. Much bigger fish to fry!


How disturbing that the school day had to be interrupted for a police sweep. At the same time, it probably got some of the students nervous!


Seriously GH Tribune!? You posted a picture of his house?


They wanted to see if any of the readers might spot a "weed" in the front lawn.

Barry Soetoro

GHT has trucks that drive around all day doing that.


To be fair, it is a matter of public record and it is where the story took place. It seems that many stories have unrelated or otherwise inappropriate pictures applied; this seems better!

Certainly looks like a horrible neighbor to have to live next to, with all the properly maintained trim, neatly edged driveway and lush foliage....


I know right? This guy is breaking all the stereotypical boundaries; and he doesn't even grow his legal crop at his home. I for one am appalled and very upset (where are my Cheetos) and as soon as there is time (do we have any chocolate) then I might look into (how about popping some corn) this; lets bake a hot and steamy Papa Murphy's pizza pie, heaven at 425.


Good thing there is no Papa John's in town; you might be tempted to drink the delicious garlic "butter" sauce!

Barry Soetoro

...or in this case - 420.


The house is very cool - looks like it could be on the National Registry of Historic Homes. Definitely not the stereotypical run-down shack of a drug dealer.


Ms. Lemke next door is looking out the window. "Damn, here I'm calling and searching everywhere for a 1/4 bag to help with my arthritis and Doug could of hooked me up". "I wonder if he will still snow blow my drive."

Don't mention snow around Doug, there will be another investigation. But how about the cracks in his driveway? Oh no, who said crack? Seems we've just touched the tip of this iceberg. Next they will be going though his family videos, see his grandchildren in a tub and scream kiddy porn. Hang in there Doug, we'll all watch to see what happens to you; we don't want to get involved, but we'll participate from afar, and anonymously.


lol :)



Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.