United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Nevada City Residents Indicted for Interstate Marijuana Trafficking
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
CONTACT: Lauren Horwood
May 19, 2011
PHONE: (916) 554-2706
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that a grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Patricia Jane Albright, 59, and her son Jordan Robert Wirtz, 24, both of Nevada City, charging them in a conspiracy to cultivate marijuana and structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting requirements.
According to court documents, in January 2010, law enforcement officers identified Albright as a marijuana grower. In early September 2010, an undercover officer posing as a marijuana broker spoke with Wirtz at one of Albright's two properties. Wirtz told the officer that he and Albright had plenty of customers, and they regularly shipped their marijuana to Colorado using commercial shipping companies.
On September 28, 2010, federal, state, and local law enforcement executed two search warrants on properties owned or used by Albright, one in Nevada County and one in El Dorado County. Agents seized marijuana plants and processed marijuana.
According to court documents, Albright and Wirtz engaged in complex currency transactions designed to launder the profits and avoid certain financial record keeping requirements. They purchased $30,000 worth of cashiers checks and money orders with cash at multiple USPS and banks, always kept the amounts less than $10,000, and spaced out the purchases over several days.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, and the Nevada County Sheriff's Office. Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and a $5 million fine. There is a five-year mandatory minimum sentence associated with the drug charges in this case. 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.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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