United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Los Angeles Lawyer And Souther California Marijuana Store Owner Indicted For Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Nathan Hoffman, 52, of Los Angeles; Hung C. Nguyen, 35, of Moorpark; Brook Murphy, 54, of Davis; Steven Marcus, 69, of Paradise; and Jesus Bruce, 36, of Los Molinos, with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana and money laundering, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Hoffman is a Los Angeles attorney with offices on Wilshire Boulevard. Seized documentary evidence from numerous federal search warrants confirms that Hoffman used his law office and email account to conduct his marijuana cultivation business. Court documents allege that Hoffman played a central role in the formation and management of the Jopson Ranch grow and the Cal-Nevada grow, which are the subject of the Ebyam case described below. In particular, evidence establishes that Hoffman incorporated “Black Horizon,” a legal entity formed for the marijuana grow site discovered at the Jopson Ranch grow, and served as the agent of service for “Blue Horizon,” a legal entity formed for the Cal-Nevada grow.
In addition, the indictment charges Hung C. Nguyen who allegedly operated two Southern California marijuana stores: the Canna Clinic of Garden Grove and the South Bay Canna Clinic in Torrance. The court documents allege the distribution network for the marijuana produced at the Jopson Ranch grow and the Cal-Nevada grow.
This indictment is the third in an ongoing investigation of industrial-scale marijuana cultivation conspiracies operating within the Eastern District of California. Two earlier related indictments are described below.
United States v. Yan Ebyam et al. (Jopson Ranch Case)
2:11-cr-00275-JAM and 2:11-cr-00276-JAM
On June 21, 2011, federal and state agents executed seven federal search warrants in Sacramento, Sutter, and Tehama Counties. Two of these warrants were executed at the sites of large, commercial greenhouses at the Jopson Ranch in Rio Oso (the “Jopson Ranch Grow”) and at the Cal-Nevada Wholesale Florist site in Sacramento (the “Cal-Nevada Grow”). Law enforcement officers seized over 5,000 marijuana plants in all stages of growth from these two locations, including approximately 2,168 marijuana plants at the Jopson Ranch grow and approximately 3,305 plants at the Cal-Nevada Florist grow. Two leaders arrested at the grow sites, Yan Ebyam and Aimee Sisco, admitted their involvement in the marijuana cultivation business. While in clear violation of federal law, the Jopson Ranch grow and the Cal-Nevada grow attempted to use California medical marijuana law to cloak their business activities. A total of 12 defendants were later indicted for crimes relating to their marijuana cultivation in two related cases currently pending in the Eastern District of California. Since those indictments, three defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court for participation in the Cal-Nevada grow.
The maximum statutory penalty for the marijuana trafficking charges is up to life in prison with a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. 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.
The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.