News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California

Two Indicted For Growing Marijuana In Trinity County

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Docket #: 2:13-cr-293  KJM



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment today charging Eric Allan Brown, 27, of Redding, and Samuel O’Donnell Barton, 24, of Arcata, with conspiring to cultivate marijuana and cultivating marijuana, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, on June 12, 2013, law enforcement received a report of a marijuana cultivation site in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in the Sharber Creek area. Six days later, officers from multiple agencies went to the site and found a clearing with extensive resource damage that included at least 12 recently cut, large-diameter trees. At the edge of a clearing was a tent that appeared to be occupied. Officers ordered the occupants to come out three times without a response except for a large dog that charged out of the tent. When movement inside the tent was still observed, officers entered the tent and found Brown and Barton inside with a loaded .22-caliber handgun on the tent floor.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendants’ dog continued to bark aggressively and run toward the officers and even attacked the police K9, biting him on the neck and head. At no time did the defendants attempt to call off the dog. Due to the immediate threat from the dog and the multiple attempts to scare it away with no lasting effect, an office was forced to kill it.

According to court documents, the defendants and fed their marijuana garden by tapping the water supply for the community of Salyer in Trinity County. One hundred and eighty-two marijuana plants were identified and eradicated.

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Forest Service, the Trinity County Narcotics Task Force, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Any sentence, however, would 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; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.



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