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Press Release

Nevada City Woman Pleads Guilty to Marijuana Cultivation and Structuring Currency Transactions on First Day of Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Patricia Jane Albright, 64, of Nevada City, pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiring to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, and structuring currency transactions to evade federal reporting requirements, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On September 18, 2014, Albright’s son and co-conspirator, Jordan Wirtz, pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges. On February 26, 2015, the Honorable Troy L. Nunley sentenced Wirtz to five years in prison.

According to court documents, between 2008 and September 2010, Albright and others worked together to manufacture marijuana on two properties she owned near Nevada City and Georgetown. Marijuana from Albright’s operation was regularly shipped out of state under fake names and addresses. At the time of her arrest on September 28, 2010, investigators found marijuana plants, cash, processed marijuana, and two firearms.

When Albright purchased the property near Georgetown in 2008 for growing marijuana, she structured 21 cash transactions at six different financial institutions over three days so she could avoid federal reporting requirements related to cash deposits.

Albright is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Nunley on December 3, 2015. The plea agreement contemplates a sentence of five years and five months in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court at the hearing.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the California Department of Justice; and the sheriff’s offices of Nevada County, Placer County, and  El Dorado County. Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith is prosecuting the case.

During the course of the investigation which involved the execution of 16 search warrants in three different counties, law enforcement seized over 4,100 marijuana plants, over 200 pounds of processed marijuana, and numerous firearms. A number of the defendants were armed at the time of their arrest, and several of the defendants had prior felony convictions for narcotics offenses. One defendant was arrested in a marijuana grow with a firearm while on pretrial release from an earlier arrest. He was facing charges for manufacturing marijuana in Southern California in 2009. Documents and items found at a number of the search locations show hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial transactions, and the interstate shipment of cash and narcotics.

Updated September 3, 2015

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 2:11-cr-226-TLN