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Bakersfield Marijuana Store Owner Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

JAN 29 (FRESNO, Calif.) — On January 28, 2013, U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced David Chavez Jr., 32, of Bakersfield, to four years in prison for using a communication facility (telephone) in connection with a drug trafficking offense. He pleaded guilty on September 24, 2012. As part of the plea agreement, Chavez Jr will forfeit his interest in approximately $57,000 in seized cash and bank funds.

According to court documents, David Chavez Jr., owned and operated Nature’s Medicinal Co-op, a marijuana dispensary in Bakersfield. His father, David Chavez Sr. was the treasurer of Nature’s Medicinal and the owner of the property where the business operated. According to the indictment, between September 2004 and February 2006, the business earned $16 million in gross sales.

David Chavez Sr. pleaded guilty on December 17, 2012 to conspiring to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25, 2013. He faces a mandatory minimum five years in prison and a $2 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Court records show that law enforcement executed search and seizure warrants on the business and personal residences of the father and son on May 1, 2007. When the defendants reopened the dispensary, additional search and seizure warrants were executed again on July 16, 2007, resulting in the seizure of more than 200 pounds of marijuana and marijuana laced food products, more than $57,000 in cash, and two firearms.

Six co-defendants have been sentenced for the conspiracy. Timothy Glenn Doolittle, of Bakersfield, 30 months in prison; Jennifer Diane Brown, of Bakersfield, a year in prison; John Shanks, 20 months in prison; Israel Cavazos, three and a half years in prison; John Wyatt, 30 months in prison; and Jonathan Michael Chapman, three years and one month in prison.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, the Bakersfield Police Department, and the Southern Tri-County High Intensity Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius is prosecuting the case.


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