United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
U.S. Attorney’s Office Distributes $263,500 in Forfeited Proceeds of Interstate Marijuana Trafficking to El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Thursday, February 6, 2014
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has distributed a portion of forfeited narcotics proceeds to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. The final payment was made in January 2014. In total, the Sheriff’s Department received $230,600, and the District Attorney’s Office received $32,900. Both agencies assisted in the investigation of an interstate marijuana-trafficking ring that resulted in a federal prosecution.
Cash, bank accounts, and a house on 10 acres of land in Placerville were forfeited from two El Dorado County defendants. Robert Edward Mulready, 50, of Placerville, and Duane Patrick Petersen, 40, of Shingle Springs, were charged in U.S. District Court with conspiring to cultivate marijuana and distribute it out-of-state. Last year, Mulready was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, and Petersen was sentenced to 22 months in prison.
These funds were made available through the U.S. DOJ equitable sharing program. The program is designed to enhance cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the sharing of proceeds resulting from federal forfeitures. State and local law enforcement agencies generally receive equitable sharing revenues by participating directly with DOJ agencies in joint investigations leading to the seizure or forfeiture of property. The amount shared with state and local law enforcement agencies is based on the degree of the agencies' direct participation in the case.
U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “I particularly want to thank the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for their outstanding cooperation and investigative work. Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool that deprives criminals of the proceeds of their illegal activities; the equitable sharing program equips law enforcement to better protect their communities.”
Sheriff D’Agostini said, “We are grateful for the investigation and prosecution efforts by the United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and his staff. The arrest, prosecution and asset forfeiture of proceeds from this criminal operation should send a strong message that federal and local law enforcement will not allow such operations to continue.”
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson commented: “This case is a prime example of county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to make El Dorado County a safer place to live.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Western El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Team (WENET). Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd A. Pickles prosecuted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin C. Khasigian handled the forfeiture.