An off-color joke by a Missouri college professor on Facebook led to would-be comedian being busted for growing marijuana last week.
Matthew Rouch, a 57-year-old professor at Northwest Missouri State University, allegedly either sent a message to or posted on the wall of a friend that he looked forward to the start of a new year at the University, but that “by October I’ll be wanting to get up to the top of the bell tower with a high powered rifle – with a good scope, and probably a gatling [sic]gun as well.”
While Rouch probably never meant that he would actually do such a thing, in this day and age you can’t make jokes like that without raising a few concerns. Which is exactly what happened. University Police learned of the message last week and arrested Rouch last Thursday for making a terrorist threat following an investigation.
According to the Kansas City Star, Rouch was held for 24 hours until Friday morning when police said they wouldn’t charge him because they didn’t believe he was really threatening anyone. But, just to be sure, the presiding judge ordered a weapons search of Rouch’s home.
It was probably right around that time that Rouch’s stomach sank. On Friday afternoon, during a search for weapons at Rouch’s home, police say they found around a dozen marijuana plants as well as pot paraphernalia.
Interestingly, the terrorism charges didn’t stick. There were no guns. But the dumb-luck police still decided to charge Rouch with production of a controlled substance and felony possession of a controlled substance. Rouch has also been placed on leave from the University, according to an official statement.
Depending on how much dried pot he had on him, Rouch could be facing anywhere from one to 15 years in prison. Likely, his charges fall within the 35 grams to 30 kilograms range, which comes with a year in prison and $20,000 in fines. If he had more than 100 kg on him, he could be facing life in prison.