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Press Release

Nevada City Woman Sentenced to over Five Years in Prison for Marijuana Cultivation and Structuring Currency Transactions

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Patricia Jane Albright, 64, of Nevada City, was sentenced by United States District Judge Troy L. Nunley to five years and five months in prison for conspiring to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, and structuring currency transactions to evade federal reporting requirements, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On July 21, 2015, Albright pleaded guilty to the charges. Albright’s son and co‑conspirator, Jordan Wirtz, 29, previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, for possessing a loaded Northern England 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition in his residence at the grow site. On February 26, 2015, Judge Nunley sentenced him to five years in prison.

According to court documents, between 2008 and September 2010, Albright and others manufactured 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.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the California Department of Justice; the Grass Valley Police Department, and the sheriff’s offices of Nevada County, Placer County, and El Dorado County. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael M. Beckwith and Justin Lee prosecuted 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 December 3, 2015

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