FRESNO, CA— United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a federal grand jury returned indictments today in two separate cases, charging violations of federal marijuana cultivating laws.
Eric Beauchamp and Clyde Helms
In the first indictment, the grand jury charged Eric Beauchamp, 43, currently incarcerated in state prison, and Clyde Charles Helms, 38, of Fresno, with conspiring to cultivate approximately 100 marijuana plants and one count of cultivating the same amount of marijuana plants. According to court records, the investigation began when the California Department of Corrections seized a cellular telephone that Beauchamp unlawfully possessed in prison. The cellular telephone contained evidence that Beauchamp was working with someone outside of prison, later identified as Helms, purchasing items used to cultivate marijuana and providing instruction on the cultivation of marijuana. After identifying the location of the indoor marijuana grow, agents seized approximately 116 marijuana plants, and evidence of the intent for continuous future cultivation.
This case is the product of an investigation by the California Department of Corrections and the Central Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, an inter-agency subsidiary of the Central Valley California (CVC) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Initiative with members from the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (CADOJ/BNE), Drug Enforcement Administration, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. National Park Service. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Servatius is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Beauchamp and Helms face a statutory penalty of five years to life in prison and a $5 million fine, followed by a four-year term of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Both defendants are in custody. Helms was arraigned today and pleaded not guilty. His next court date is November 21, 2011. Beauchamp is scheduled for arraignment on Monday, November 14, 2011.
In the second indictment, the grand jury charged Richard Daleman, 63, of Visalia, with conspiring to cultivate marijuana, two counts of cultivation, and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute. According to court records, the investigation began based upon citizen complaints that Daleman was engaged in harvesting marijuana at two locations in Visalia. Two undercover officers met with Daleman, and each of them purchased one pound of marijuana for approximately $2,200 and negotiated to purchase an additional 190 pounds of marijuana for transportation out of California. Daleman boasted to officers that he sold marijuana to buyers in New York as well.
During the execution of search warrants on residences associated with Daleman, officers seized approximately 61 marijuana plants and approximately 1,100 pounds of processed marijuana. In addition, officers uncovered evidence of approximately 3,500 harvested marijuana plants found on the five-acre property Daleman rented. Daleman claimed that he sub-leased his property to other individuals to allow them to grow marijuana on it.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen Servatius is prosecuting the case.
Daleman was arraigned today and pleaded not guilty. He remains in custody. His next court date is November 21, 2011.
If convicted, Daleman faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine, followed by a five-year term of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
These charges are only allegations, and the defendants in each case are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.