San Joaquin County Marijuana Cultivation Ring Busted
OCT 28 -- SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today the culmination of an investigation into a marijuana growing ring based in San Joaquin County. This enforcement operation resulted in the service of federal search warrants in Tracy, Stockton, Manteca, and Nipomo, CA. As a result of the searches agents dismantled five indoor marijuana grow sites, and seized approximately 2,000 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, three handguns (two of which were loaded), one shotgun, four vehicles (to include a Lexus, Hummer, & two BMW’s), two boats, and approximately $1.5 million. Six individuals were arrested on federal drug charges.
“It appears that some members of this marijuana trafficking organization acquired a large amount of personal wealth, as evidenced by the assets seized in this investigation. Interagency cooperation was a key factor in locating and dismantling these marijuana grow sites,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams.
The DEA Sacramento District Office, San Leandro Police Department and the San Joaquin Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force (METRO) conducted this investigation. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, agents believe that the organization is led by Lonnie Terrell, 26, of Tracy, who is the financier and main profiteer of the group. During the course of the case, law enforcement identified multiple suspected indoor marijuana grow locations in San Joaquin County.
On October 27, 2010, law enforcement served multiple federal search warrants. As a result, five marijuana grows were discovered at residences in Manteca, Tracy, and Stockton. One of the indoor grow sites was within 1,000 feet of a public high school in Tracy. Large amounts of U.S. Currency were seized from Tracy residences. Additionally, officers found approximately $400,000 buried on the property at a residence related to the investigation in Nipomo, CA.
The following individuals were arrested and charged in connection with the case, Lonnie Terrell, 26, Anthony Montano, 28, Nicholas Roman, 26, Ruth Jimenez, 23, Jeremy Terrell, 21, all of Tracy, and Alex Lindberg, 23, of Stockton. All individuals are charged with conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants and manufacturing marijuana.All defendants had their initial appearance in Federal Court in Sacramento on October 28, 2010.
The San Leandro Police Department, DEA Sacramento District Office, and San Joaquin Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force (METRO) conducted this investigation, with assistance from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, Stockton Police Department, Tracy Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, DEA Office in Bakersfield, and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California.
If convicted of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, the defendants face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years, a maximum prison term of life, and a fine of up to $4,000,000. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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