A 22-year-old Helena man was arrested Friday after Missouri River Drug Task Force officers found more than 175 marijuana plants growing in and around his home.

According to an affidavit supporting his arrest, the task force had received multiple tips that Chance McKenzie Bowen was operating a growing operation in his home in the 600 block of Graham Street.

They obtained and executed a search warrant for the property, where they found 178 actively growing marijuana plants as well as lights, ballasts and other instruments used to grow the plants inside the residence, the affidavit said.

Most of the plants were located inside the residence under heating lamps and ventilation systems, but some were found growing in the backyard, “labeled with different strains of THC, showing they were not just wildly growing,” the affidavit said.

Bowen admitted to being the owner of the operation, the affidavit said.

He was arrested and charged with one count of felony criminal production or manufacturing of dangerous drugs. 

I cover crime and courts.

(20) comments

Jason Smith

Bowen faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and fines of up to $50,000.
But if he was rich and drunk and ran over people, like in Texas, he would receive treatment.
If he was a teacher and raped a 14 year old, like in Billings, he would receive probation.


Way to try to minimize this crime.

Jason Smith

I am minimizing the crime because it is victimless, and should be treated as such.


So you think that any crime that doesn't involve a victim should go un-punished? Newsflash, anyone he sells to is a victim,


Dolphind3, not only should any crime that doesn't involve a victim go unpunished... but if there is no victim, how can it even be called a crime. Think about it. IF he were selling, then a case can be made that their were victims, but it would still be arguable, not a given. However, if there is literally no victim, or even a potential victim, then there is no crime.


Dolphind3, victim of what...Free will?

Jason Smith

How can you say that whoever he sells to is a victim? Do those that want feel good are they victims? If he is a victim to an "addictive" substance then should he not be treated rather then incarcerated for life? If someone murders or rapes and receives treatment and probation, then where is the cohesiveness? If a person runs a red light 178 times and no one is injured should they be treated as a criminal for "breaking the law" and receive life in prison?


Well...ole Chance took his chance in Helena, not in Tx or Billings. I hope his house is confiscated.


"Manufacturing dangerous drugs" and growing marijuana are not even close to the same thing.


Well, in the grand scheme of things, growing pot is minimal compared to the other crimes Jason Smith mentioned that pretty much went unpunished. People in this town have racked up 7 & 8 DUIs and they're still out there endangering other people's lives in a very real way every single day. THAT scares me way more than some kid growing pot for him and his numbskull buddies to sit around in their mother's basements smoking and eating Cheetos all night. Grown men raping teenage girls and getting only a slap on the wrist for doing it scares me way more pot plants. These crimes should have a prison sentence and a 50k fine attached to them and the stupid pot heads should be getting the slaps on the wrist, not the other way around!


Message to Law Enforcement: Nobody cares. It's over. The drug war is over. Make it legal and move on. Whenever I see stories about people being arrested for marijuana I think about the enormous waste of taxpayer dollars it takes to prosecute and potentially jail a pot smoker/grower. Just do us all a favor and let him go.


Yes we care, get these criminals out of our town.


dolphin, you are clearly not the majority.


Oh yes I am the majority. If I wasn't then every Tom Dick and Harry would still have a medical pot card and you could still obtain one from traveling clinics. So clearly I am the majority.


I am so tired of hearing these stories about gardeners going to jail and/or prison. This is the majority of why we have to build a new jail, because people are growing or consuming weed? What an astronomically ridiculous waste of MY MONEY! It's downright infuriating.


Why don't you talk to the Drug Task force and see if Chance and his family of felons can move in next door to you and save us all prosecution money. Just be prepared to have 5-20 cars a coming and going at all hours. There is a good chance they will get all screwed up (not just on weed) and mistake your house for theirs. You will have HPD in your neighborhood very often for domestic disturbance etc.... I don't agree with you in the slightest that this "gardener" should not be prosecuted. These people have disrupted honest tax paying citizens lives in a family neighborhood for years. And it's the whole family not just innocent ole Chance...


Well said nmatthies.


Life in prison for growing some plants?! There should be a one year max sentence for a "crime" like this. I'd love to see juries start nullifying the verdicts in trials for crimes like this, let the taxpayers see a million dollars of their money wasted to unsuccessfully prosecute these nonsense charges. Maybe then people would get serious about ending MJ prohibition. No drug crime is so heinous as to deserve life in prison, I don't care if someone drives a tractor trailer load of heroin into the ciuntry. Life sentences need to be reserved for child molesters and murders that don't qualify for the death penalty, not naughty gardeners. If Chance had lived in WA, the mayor would be attending a ribbon cutting for the grand opening.


Those people should "disappear" in the wee hours of the morning and their house razed before dawn.


Who are "those people" to which you are referring? Nullifying jurists? Taxpayers against marijuana prohibition? Or child molesters and murderers?

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