Attorney Licensed in New Jersey and New York Charged with Marijuana Offenses
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Manish Patel, 33, of Granite Bay, appeared today in federal court on charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana plants and tetrahydrocannabinols contained in hashish oil, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to court documents, Patel is a licensed attorney in New Jersey (admitted in 2015) and New York (admitted in 2017). The complaint alleges that Patel conspired to transport marijuana and concentrated cannabis oil across the country using his private airplane, a Learjet. In May and June 2019, law enforcement in California executed search warrants that resulted in the seizure of approximately 1,400 pounds of marijuana contraband and $400,000 in cash.
One of the locations searched was a warehouse being used as a concentrated cannabis manufacturing laboratory, from which detectives seized over 980 pounds of processed marijuana and 88.27 pounds of concentrated cannabis. A second location searched was a Granite Bay mansion rented by Patel that contained processed marijuana, items commonly used to manufacture concentrated cannabis, and over $400,000 cash. In August 2018, the DEA interdicted Patel and several associates at an executive airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico and seized $80,000 in cash. When investigators searched the Learjet in June 2019, it contained 181.51 pounds of dried marijuana and 18.41 pounds of concentrated cannabis. The flight plan for the Learjet showed that it was scheduled to fly to Colorado, then Illinois, and then New Jersey.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the El Dorado Sheriff’s Office, the El Dorado District Attorney’s Office, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin Khasigian and Vincenza Rabenn are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Patel faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. 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.