BAKERSFIELD, CA – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Bakersfield Resident Office, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Bakersfield Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) announce the service of federal search warrants earlier this morning at the residence of James HOLLAND as well as HOLLAND’s marijuana dispensary known as the “Free and Easy Compassionate Care” in Kern County, CA. HOLLAND, a convicted felon, and his two associates, Michael KILPATRICK and Thomas WRIGHT, were armed with handguns when encountered by officers near the marijuana dispensary. The three were arrested for weapons and narcotics violations.
“This case clearly shows how common criminals attempt to hide behind state marijuana laws while they peddle illegal drugs in our neighborhoods,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor. Taylor added, “These drug dealers were all armed with loaded handguns which created a dangerous situation for not only law enforcement officers, but neighbors and business owners alike.”
On September 8, 2005, at approximately 10:00 a.m., agents served a federal search warrant at Free and Easy Compassionate Care in the 1900 block of North Chester Avenue. Agents arrested HOLLAND, 43, of Bakersfield, near the business, not before he threw a loaded handgun out of his vehicle. Two of HOLLAND’s associates, Michael KILPATRICK, 44, and Thomas Ray WRIGHT, 34, both of Bakersfield, were armed with loaded handguns at the time of their arrests near the dispensary.
The business, which operates as a marijuana distribution center, was owned and operated by HOLLAND. A federal authorized search warrant was also served at HOLLAND’s residence located in the 9000 Block of Seven Standard Rd., Kern County, CA.
As a result of the searches, agents seized 4 loaded handguns and approximately 200 pounds of processed marijuana. HOLLAND was arrested for federal firearms and drug violations. KILPATRICK and WRIGHT were arrested for State of California weapons violations. All three were booked into custody at the Kern County Jail.
This case is the product of a six-month investigation between the DEA Bakersfield Resident Office, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Bakersfield Police Department, ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fresno, CA.
Any questions concerning this news release should be directed to Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gordon Taylor at (916) 416-7699 or DEA Bakersfield Resident Agent in Charge Stephen Peterson at (661) 396-3799.