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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Colorado Resident Charged In California Marijuana Conspiracy

FRESNO, Calif. —Mark Jeff Zeldes, 52, of Broomfield, Colo., appeared today in federal court in Fresno to face charges contained in an indictment of cultivating and distributing marijuana, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between June 1, 2009, and March 9, 2010, Zeldes was responsible for a large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution operation with multiple indoor grow locations in Bakersfield, Newbury Park, and Northridge, Calif. After being questioned by law enforcement agents in California, Zeldes relocated to Colorado where he continued to engage in marijuana cultivation and interstate distribution activities.

Following his arrest on April 8, 2014, Zeldes was brought before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Denver, who ordered him detained as a flight risk and danger to the community. Zeldes remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear in court in Fresno for a status conference on June 23, 2014.

If convicted, Zeldes faces a statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 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.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the U.S. Marshal Service and Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:14-cr-77 AWI
Updated April 8, 2015