California, Nevada

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California, Nevada

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:31 pm

The Union wrote:
Prosecutors may change marijuana limits

The Union
By Robyn Moormeister,
December 15, 2006

Limits on the number of marijuana plants people with doctors' recommendations are allowed to grow in Nevada County may become more stringent in coming months, as the district attorney-elect re-evaluates local standards for cultivation of the drug.

Grow lights for an indoor medicinal marijuana farm may have allegedly sparked a fire on Rapp Road in Penn Valley last Friday that destroyed a two-story farmhouse; the renters had valid recommendations to grow marijuana.

No arrests were made and fire officials say the cause is still under investigation, but the incident is one of many that has caused local law enforcement officials to examine the pitfalls of local medicinal marijuana standards.

"There are some serious concerns regarding the size of grows in residential communities," said Nevada County District Attorney-Elect Cliff Newell, slated to take office Jan. 8. "There are dangers from fire, and people trying to rob fields as plants mature. I know of large grows where there are children running around and people use dogs to guard (plants)."

He said in coming months - before the growing season starts in May, 2007 - he will meet with law enforcement officials to develop new standards for growing.

California voters passed Prop. 215 in 1996, which allows Californians to cultivate and possess marijuana for medical purposes, although possession of marijuana for any reason violates federal law. Local jurisdictions drafted standards on the amount of marijuana people with valid doctors' recommendations can have.

On June 14, 2000, Nevada County law enforcement officials including District Attorney Michael Ferguson, Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster and Nevada City Police Chief Lou Trovato signed a memorandum of understanding clearly outlining local standards.

The document states, "Based upon verification of a valid or written recommendation and absent evidence of sales or possession for sale, a person with such a recommendation from a physician shall be allowed to possess no more than 2 pounds of marijuana. Such person shall be allowed to cultivate between five and 10 marijuana plants; however, the expected yield from such plants should be no more than 2 pounds of processed marijuana."

But in the years since the agreement was reached, people have consistently exceeded the allowable amount.

"They're entrepreneurial in their growing," said Nevada County Sheriff's Lt. Ron Smith. "People are taking advantage of the law."

Newell said modern growers have become more sophisticated in their cultivation, cloning plants to create all females and genetically altering plants to produce higher quality and quantity.

"The technical capability of growers has increased from 10-15 years ago," he said.

Many homes with marijuana farms are tended by several people, each with their own medical recommendation. And several doctors in the area, he said, willingly write recommendations.

"Everyone has a recommendation," Smith said. "There are a lot of them. I see young adults with recommendations and I think 'What could be wrong?'"

He said many young people tell him that they are using marijuana to treat depression.

He said he supports people who use the drug for valid medical reasons, such as treatment for chronic pain or nausea from chemotherapy, but those cases are in the minority.

And the large indoor grows, he said, are posing a risk to the public.

"There's no guidebook on how to set up a grow," he said. "There's Mylar for the walls, a lot of wiring, lights, timers and fertilizer. It can get dangerous."

Newell said he will take Smith's and others' concerns into account during his re-evaluation.

"I'm not going to make any unilateral decisions without consulting with doctors and law enforcement first," he said. "It is reasonable to assume we'll be lowering the amount grown."


To contact Staff Writer Robyn Moormeister, e-mail or call 477-4236.

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Home Invasion Linked To Pot

Postby palmspringsbum » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:21 pm

The Grass Valley Union wrote:Home Invasion Linked To Pot

The Grass Valley Union
Wed, 17 Oct 2007
by Robyn Moormeister

<span class=postbigbold>Bolted Baseball Bat Used in Alleged Robbery Attempt</span>

A 37-year-old man was seriously injured when two men allegedly broke into a house outside Cedar Ridge late Monday night and attacked two other men with a wooden baseball bat that had long metal bolts driven into the end.

The home invasion on the 11000 block of Rohaje Lane may have been an attempted robbery of marijuana, though investigators have not yet established a motive, Nevada County sheriff's Lt. Bill Evans said. Police found about 22 pot plants at the house, he said.

Marvin Buckingham, 37, was transported by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center with serious injuries after he was struck in the head with the altered baseball bat, Evans said. The mace broke during the fight, he said.

Buckingham remained in serious condition Tuesday afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Robin Montgomery said.

The other occupant, Michael Stein, 47, had an abrasion on his face and was not taken to the hospital, Evans said.

"If you're minding your own business, sitting at home manicuring your pot plants, you might want to lock your door," Nevada County sheriff's Capt. Ron Smith said. "This is the risk you take."

Violent marijuana robberies are happening all over California this harvest season, said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Gordon Taylor in Sacramento.

"The use is bad enough," he said, "but all the activity associated with marijuana cultivation creates a dangerous environment."

In the incident outside Cedar Ridge, the suspects broke into the home shortly before midnight, according to sheriff's logs. They did not knock or announce themselves, Evans said, but barged in and started swinging the mace.

After a brief struggle in the living room, one of the victims yelled that he had a gun, authorities said.

"That was quick thinking on his part," Smith said.

Both suspects got scared and ran without taking any marijuana, Evans said. The victim did not actually have a gun, he said.

One of the victims called 911 at 11:54 p.m. and told a dispatcher the attackers were wearing jeans and flannel shirts and were in a white truck. The suspects were not wearing masks, Evans said.

Sheriff's deputies responded and stopped a white Ford truck with two male occupants on Rattlesnake Road at Dog Bar Road at 12:19 a.m.

Investigators drove Stein by the vehicle to identify the men, but he said he did not recognize them, Evans said.

Deputies arrested the men, Mike Console, 23, and Timothy Connor, 47, on suspicion of transporting a controlled substance for sale. Marijuana and heroin were found in the truck, Evans said.

Console was booked into jail without bail because he is in violation of his probation, according to jail staff.

Connor's bail was set at $35,000, jail staff reported.

Console has been arrested for drug possession in the past, Evans said.

Six marijuana plants were located outside of the home, and 16 smaller plants were inside along with "a bunch" drying inside, Evans said.

The victims will not be charged with marijuana cultivation, because three doctor's recommendations of medical marijuana were located at the residence, Evans said.

Investigators do not want to attribute the invasion solely to attempted marijuana theft, Evans said, because there may be more to the story.

"This one's a little strange," Evans said. "I don't think we know the whole story."

One of the victims told police that the owner of the home - who was not present at the time of the attack - was recently threatened for an unknown reason, he said.

"Someone said they were going to break (the homeowner's) legs," Evans said.

Sheriff's investigators say the recent string of similar attempted robberies are not linked, Smith said. They suspect different attackers are involved in each incident, while the home invasions are not random, but targeted, perhaps by people who know the victims.

"This is high risk, high gain to these (intruders)," Smith said. "They're probably going to let you do all the work, then take (the marijuana) after you pick off all the buds."

People who do not cultivate marijuana shouldn't worry about getting targeted by these types of violent intruders, Smith said.

"It's not your regular citizens who are getting their doors kicked in," Smith said. "It's just the guys involved in marijuana enterprise."
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DEA Raids in Nevada County

Postby palmspringsbum » Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:36 pm wrote:DEA Raids in Nevada County

by Nevada County Sheriff's Office, Yuba Net
September 14th, 2007

Yesterday, September 13, 2007, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) executed three search warrants for the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana in the Big Oak Valley area. The DEA was assisted by narcotic's agents from the Nevada County Sheriff's Narcotic's Task Force (NTF). The first search warrant took place on the 21000 block of Greenview Ct. The 49 year-old property owner, Michael Edward Lombardo, Jr. had valid Prop 215 "medical" marijuana recommendation, yet Prop 215 is not recognized under federal law. Mr. Lombardo was arrested and booked on federal marijuana cultivation charges. 100 marijuana plants were seized.

The second search warrant was executed on the 23000 block of St. Helena Dr, where approximately 30 mature marijuana plants were seized by the DEA. The plants were well-cared for and it was estimated that each plant would yield two to three pounds of high-quality processed marijuana. 28 year-old, Jared Painter was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana.

The last search warrant was executed on the 23000 of Eldore Rd. Erik William Cederholm, 31 years-old, was also arrested under federal marijuana cultivation charges. At his five acre property, 60 mature marijuana plants were seized.

During the raids four handguns, four shotguns and five rifles were seized. A total of 190 highquality marijuana female marijuana plants were taken by drug agents during the three raids, at a street value of approximately 1.4 million dollars. Also taken under federal asset forfeiture statutes, was a 2004 Chevrolet pickup. The DEA is also seeking to seize the residences and properties of those arrested.

The DEA plans to continue these types of raids in the future.
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