A man's arrest on allegations of enticing a minor over the Internet led police in Tooele to uncover a marijuana growing operation.

Agents with the Utah Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children task force were posing as underage girls in online chat rooms when a man struck up a conversation with each of them.

"Of all the people in the world, he picks three cops," said Ken Wallentine, the Utah Attorney General's chief of law enforcement.

The man eventually dumped one girl for another, and then another, agents said. He arranged to meet the undercover officer for sex at a shopping center in the Salt Lake Valley, where he was arrested, Wallentine said.

Under questioning, authorities said the man admitted to possessing child pornography but refused to hand over his computer. Agents then sought a search warrant for his home, on the east side of 1000 North in Tooele.

"When they went into the house they found a marijuana grow," said Tooele Police Lt. Paul Wimmer. "There's numerous plants."

Wimmer described the basement operation as fairly sophisticated, with controlled environments, specialized lighting and nearly two dozen marijuana plants.

Craig James Dowen, 47, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on investigation of enticing a minor over the Internet. He remains there without bail. Wimmer said they will seek to screen charges related to the drug operation with the Tooele County Attorney's Office.


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