Humboldt and Mendocino Counties are famous for their marijuana cultivation. Most people have always thought that pot growers were immune to prosecution up there. Well, they were wrong. Twelve people were charged in a large scale marijuna cultivation case in Humboldt County this week. The charges are being brought by the DA’s office, not the feds! This case will most likely go federal as it involves large quantities of marijuana, money and guns. The individuals charged also allegedly have ties to an international drug ring. Eleven of the twelve charged are foreign nationals which means that if convicted, they will most likely be deported. However, the case is currently a state case being prosecuted by the Humboldt County DA.

One of the defendants claimed that the cultivation operation was in compliance with California medical marijuana laws but local authorities obviously disagreed. The sheriff’s department seized 428 pounds of dried marijuana and more than 400 plants. They also found a handgun, evidence of sales and over $40,000 in cash. Evidence of sales or what is also referred to as “indicia of sales” can include scales, packaging materials and “pay-owe sheets” or ledgers of transactions involving sales.

It is possible that this group was targeted because of their possible involvement in an international drug ring although the DA’s office would not comment on this. It is also possible that these individuals were targeted because they are not U.S. citizens. Either way, the myth that there is no risk in cultivating and selling marijuana is being busted. The peaceful bubble that was Humboldt County has burst. People are being arrested and it’s not just the feds arresting them.

I strongly urge anyone out there who is involved in marijuana cultivation or sales to reconsider your profession. I believe that medical marijuana is extremely beneficial to many people. I believe that marijuana should be legal. But it is not legal yet and until that day comes, anyone involved in cultivation or sales of marijuana could very well be arrested and may face very serious consequences.

In federal court 100 kilos or 200 pounds of marijuana or 100 or more plants regardless of weight carries a 5 year mandatory miminum sentence. 1000 kilos or 2000 pounds or 1000 plants regardless of weight carries a 10 year mandatory mimimum sentence and a maximum life sentence. They’re not fooling around!

If you are facing criminal prosecution for marijuana sales or cultivation it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Call the Law Office of Diane C. Bass.