April 1, 2013

Two rural Audubon County men accused of growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants on their two acreages and selling more than 220 pounds of the drug over the course of 12 years were each sentenced to five years in federal prison last week, according to court records.

Randy Frank Irlmeier, 63, and Paul Joseph Irlmeier, 44, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana as part of a deal with federal prosecutors in which two other drug manufacturing and distribution charges - which were punishable by up to life in prison - were dropped.

The men admitted last year to growing and selling marijuana on two northeast Audubon County properties at 1547 Quail Ave. and 1805 Pheasant Ave. from 2005 to 2010, when in October law officers searched the acreages.

A judge sentenced the men to five years in federal prison - from which there is no parole - on March 27 and also ordered Randy Irlmeier to forfeit $400,000 and Paul Irlmeier to forfeit $104,500.

Randy Irlmeier appealed his sentence the next day.

Paul Irlmeier has agreed to forfeit his 10 acres on Pheasant Avenue and a 2008 Chevrolet pickup truck in lieu of about $100,000 cash, according to court records. Randy Irlmeier preferred to pay cash rather than forfeit his 40 acres on Quail Avenue.

Much of the details of the Irlmeiers' drug operation - including what law-enforcement officers found when they searched the acreages in 2010 - were sealed by a federal judge.

A grand jury deliberated for months before it charged the men in April 2011.