ROME TWP. (WWJ/AP) – A man accused of growing more than 8,000 marijuana plants in rural Lenawee County has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Edwin Schmieding, 62, entered his plea Tuesday after admitting he was raising marijuana during the summer of 2011 in Rome Township. He faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison, although his attorney will argue for an exception.

Schmieding’s wife Linda also appeared in Detroit federal court, but is asking for more time to negotiate with prosecutors.

The couple’s sentences will be influenced by the quantity of marijuana. Defense lawyer Sanford Schulman said Schmieding shouldn’t be held responsible for more than 8,000 plants. He has an expert who says many plants were of poor quality.

In all, police confiscated 8,259 marijuana plants, 56 bags equaling approximately 25 pounds of marijuana processed for sale, and about 100 bags of marijuana seeds marked with dates as early as 2006.

Officials said the plants were in various stages of growth, from seedlings to mature plants ready for harvest. Several more fields were located that were being prepared for additional growing plots. The entrance to the property was fortified with a locked gate. Also seized were numerous grow lights, watering system, and ventilation equipment.

Agent Lloyd Hopkins said Linda Schmieding told police they were paid $500 a week for marijuana and some pot was sold as medical marijuana.

MORE: Feds Take Over Drug Case After Big Bust In Lenawee

Police Seize 7K Marijuana Plants From Couple In Their 60s

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