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Thread: Court Support in Los Angeles!

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    Thumbs up Court Support in Los Angeles!

    We Need Court Support, because innocent people may go to PRISON!!

    Pot factory found Tuesday, May 8th 2007
    $4 million worth of plants found in Azusa building
    By Frank C. Girardot, Staff Writer

    AZUSA - Police seized as much as $4 million worth of marijuana and arrested two men Tuesday in connection with a pot factory on the city's western edge. Azusa police detectives served a search warrant on an industrial building at 844 N. Vernon Ave., Unit 13, about 2 p.m., officials said. Inside were between 550 to 600 pot plants valued at about $6,000 per plant, Azusa police Detective Chris Franks. "I've been a cop for 17 years and I'm amazed at how elaborate this was," Cpl. Rick Sanchez said. Unlike recent busts in the suburban San Gabriel Valley, the Azusa farm was housed in a cinder-block building surrounded by machine shops, auto mechanics and light industrial facilities. Paul Shaw, 35 and Charles Newcomb, 48, both of Azusa, were arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, said Lt. John Momot. The pair were being held Tuesday in the Azusa city jail. Inside, the building had been divided into five rooms. A surveillance camera kept watch on the front door. The first interior room, which was beyond a small reception area, housed some discarded sheet metal saws and a large compressor. A makeshift bed was propped about 4 feet above the floor. A computer with a large flat panel monitor lit a small chess board. A man's white tennis shoes were at the side of the bed. At the foot of the bed there was a small bookcase with a stack of "High Times" magazines and an instruction manual for setting up large-scale marijuana farms. The rest of the room was littered with ashtrays, bongs, and condiments like hot sauce and ketchup. Just beyond a door at the far end, another room housed about 250 pot plants in various stages of growth. The plants were watered using a drip irrigation system and kept at a constant temperature and humidity, Azusa police Lt. Frank Chavez said. Plants ranging from tiny sprouts to roughly 8-inch high seedlings filled the room. A system of fluorescent lights were attached to power regulating ballasts and hung close to the planters. Most of the plants grew in a red porous substance that looked like volcanic rock. The walls were covered in a white plastic liner that contained growing instructions in felt marker. Empty blue and red plastic party cups lined the center of the room, waiting for plants to be grown in them. A third room contained larger plants and higher powered lighting. Many of the plants were more than three feet tall and were contained large buds.
    "They specifically grow the crop for these buds," Chavez said. Police would not say if the factory was connected to other similar operations that have been busted in the San Gabriel Valley since February. The last room, which was virtually dark, was apparently used for drying the plants, Chavez said. Posters for Pink Floyd and Wu Tang Clan covered the walls. The operation resembled an assembly line or factory, Franks said. Police began dismantling the farm late Tuesday and expected to work through the night to complete the process.
    "As long as it took them to build this, it's going to take us that long to dismantle it," Chavez said. The Azusa raid was the latest of several marijuana seizures in Southern California recently.

    Staff Writer Andrea Bennett contributed to this story.

    Couple arrested on pot charges
    Suspect says he worked for medical dispensary
    By Dan Abendschein Staff Writer
    AZUSA - Two people were arrested Thursday on conspiracy and marijuana cultivation charges after being linked to a pot factory that was busted earlier this month.
    Azusa police said Bryn Anderson, 38, and his girlfriend, Barbara Witte, 43, were arrested at a residence in the 1500 block of Canyon Drive in Los Angeles.
    No live marijuana plants were found at the residence, but photographs and written documentation found at the house linked them to a pot-growing operation in Azusa, according to Sgt. Xavier Torres.
    Authorities said Anderson has confessed to being involved in the growing operation after he was arrested.
    Anderson and Witte are being held in city jail on $1 million bail.
    Reached in Missouri for comment, Anderson's father said his son was working at a West Hollywood medical marijuana dispensary.
    "He was doing work to help the sick and the dying get relief from their pain," said Jim Anderson.
    Torres confirmed that based on statements made by Bryn Anderson, there might be a connection to a medical marijuana dispensary.
    "We're not sure if they were acting as middlemen between the operation and dispensaries, or they had some other association," Torres said. "But our evidence does suggest they were involved in the growing operation." Police said links between growing operations and medical marijuana dispensaries are not common.
    "I can't recall any case in the last year where we have seen someone arrested in a growing operation who had a connection to a dispensary," said Lt. James Whitten of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
    Anderson and Witte were linked to the pot factory after the place was busted, officers said. Police watching the warehouse took down the license plate number of their car.
    Jim Anderson said he is certain his son was not involved in for-profit marijuana growing.
    "You can see from his lifestyle that he was not a wealthy man," said Jim Anderson. "This was not an economic venture, but a desire to do a civic duty."
    The Azusa pot factory was located in an industrial building at 844 N. Vernon Ave. More than 700 pot plants, valued at about $6,000 per plant, were seized.
    Two Azusa residents, Paul Shaw, 35, and Charles Newcomb, 47, were arrested in connection with the growing operation. They face marijuana cultivation and possession charges.

    dan.abendschein@sgvn.com

    (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2105


    5/31/07 Pot factory suspect released by police By Dan Abendschein Staff Writer
    AZUSA - A Los Angeles woman arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation was released from police custody on Tuesday.
    Barbara Witte, 43, who was suspected by police to be connected to an Azusa pot factory that was busted earlier this month, said Wednesday that she was part of a "medical marijuana community."
    She declined to comment further on her arrest or her connection to local dispensaries without first consulting her attorney.
    Witte was arrested last Thursday on charges of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, but the district attorney's office declined to file charges.
    "The evidence in her apartment linking her to the growing operation was not strong enough for the DA," said Sgt. Xavier Torres, of the Azusa Police Department.
    Witte's boyfriend, Bryn Anderson, 38, who lives with her, is still facing charges of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, and is in police custody.
    Witte said that her release from police custody was abrupt, and she was never told whether charges against her had been filed or not.
    "They cut me loose, sent me out the door, and told me never to come back" said Witte.
    The Azusa pot factory was located in an industrial building at844 N. Vernon Ave. More than 700 pot plants, valued at about $6,000 per plant, were seized.
    Two Azusa residents, Paul Shaw, 35, and Charles Newcomb, 47, were arrested on May 8 in connection with the growing operation.
    They face marijuana cultivation and possession charges.
    Anderson and Witte were linked to the pot factory after the place was busted, according to Sgt. Torres.
    Police watching the warehouse took down the license plate number of their car.
    The police say that they found documents and photos that linked Anderson to the growing operation after searching his Hollywood apartment last week, but have not given more specific details on the evidence.


    Arrests highlight lack of regulations for medicinal use By Dan Abendschein Staff Writer
    Three men accused of running a pot factory in Azusa claim that they are caregivers who grow exclusively for medical marijuana dispensaries.
    Bryn Anderson, 38; Paul Shaw, 35; and Charles Newcomb, 47, were arrested last month in an industrial sector of Azusa with more than 700 marijuana plants.
    Because of differences between federal law, where it is illegal to grow or use marijuana, and state law, where marijuana can be used and grown by patients with a doctor's prescription, medical marijuana is in a legal gray area.
    Anderson believes that his case shows the difficulty that dispensaries have in legally obtaining marijuana without getting in trouble with the law.
    "It doesn't get dropped off by a little green elephant," Anderson said. "Someone has to grow it."
    Shaw declined to comment for this story. Newcomb no longer has a working phone number, according to Anderson. He said that Newcomb is being evicted from his apartment.
    Under the guidelines of Proposition 215, the 1996 voter proposition that legalized medical marijuana, and SB 420, a 2003 state Senate bill, a person who provides marijuana to people with a doctor's prescription can claim to be a caregiver and can legally grow marijuana.
    But there are no state regulations or licenses that determine who is a caregiver and who is growing for the black market.
    Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said that prosecutors rely on evidence from law enforcement officers to determine if a person is legally growing marijuana.
    "We don't file charges for people who use medical marijuana for personal use," Gibbons said.
    Medical marijuana's precarious legal status was shown in January when federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided 11 medical marijuana dispensaries and seized thousands of pounds of pot.
    A month later, California dispensaries were ordered by the state Board of Equalization to start paying sales tax as a legitimate business would.
    Newcomb's lawyer, Bruce Margolin, who is also director of the L.A. branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says the law allows the men to grow marijuana for dispensaries.
    "As caregivers under Proposition 215, they are allowed to provide medicine for patients," Margolin said.
    SB 420 specifies that patients or caregivers can possess six mature or 12 immature plants per qualified patient.
    Margolin says his client and the other two growers have a patient list of thousands all over Los Angeles County and all three have doctor's prescriptions to be patients themselves.
    However, SB 420 does not specify how many clients a caregiver can have, or how to regulate caregiver growing operations so that they would not be mistaken for black market grow operations.
    There may also be some disagreement about how to define a caregiver.
    Although Margolin said that his client was a caregiver for patients that used his marijuana, Proposition 215 defines a caregiver as the person that has "consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health or safety" of a patient - a designation that may make it hard to believe a caregiver could have thousands of clients.
    This lack of clarity in how to operate without getting in trouble with law has Anderson wishing the state would get more involved.
    "We need regulation, so people can see that what we are doing isn't illegal," Anderson said.
    Lt. James Whitten, an officer in the narcotics division of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, agrees.
    "If we are going to have legal medical marijuana, then prosecution needs some standards so they can pursue growing-operation cases," Whitten said. "It needs to come under some reasonable regulation."
    Margolin says that all the confusion over the difference in state and federal law means he is often showing judges and prosecutors the law regarding caregivers possessing marijuana.
    "They look at case law I bring them and they just can't believe that this is part of the state law," Margolin said.
    To avoid that confusion, several California counties allow anyone with a valid ID card acquired from a doctor's prescription to register their growing operation.
    Mendocino and Nevada County caregivers can also form patient lists by having patients write them in on their card as their primary caregiver.
    With the patient lists, the county can figure out how much marijuana they are allowed to grow.
    Despite lacking a similar registration program, growers in other parts of the state have had cases dismissed after arguing they were connected to dispensaries.
    John Cassatt had charges dismissed against him before even going to trial in Nevada County in 2002 after being arrested with almost 400 plants.
    In Sonoma County in 2002, Ken Hayes also had charges thrown out after being arrested for possessing almost 900 plants.
    Here in Los Angeles County in 2002, Elizabeth Levin's case was thrown out before going to trial. She was arrested with almost 200 plants.
    Margolin says that he has had cases where the district attorney has declined to even file charges.
    "Once I go and talk to the DA and tell him that they are trying a guy who is connected to dispensaries, they don't want anything to do with it," Margolin said.
    But John Lovell, a lobbyist with the California Narcotics Officer's Association, which opposes medical marijuana, says there are just as many cases where growers claiming to be associated with dispensaries were convicted of marijuana cultivation.
    "There is no lawful way to manufacture marijuana on a large scale," Lovell said. He was unable to provide any specific cases of convictions against a defendant who argued he was involved in medical marijuana cultivation.
    Lovell also said that evidence suggests that growers who were involved in dispensaries are also involved in growing for the black market, a claim disputed by Chris Fusco of Americans for Safe Access.
    "All law-compliant dispensaries are very careful not to intermingle with the illicit marijuana trade," Fusco said.
    Dispensary trade is not very profitable, according to Fusco, with collectives offering growers a fixed donation to cover their costs and provide the growers with a decent income.
    "Prices really vary with the quality of the medicine," Fusco said. "Sometimes growers give it away, sometimes they will get thousands of dollars for a large sale of quality medicine."
    The Azusa police valued the plants in Anderson, Newcomb and Shaw's grow house at $6,000 per plant, which could bring in millions of dollars on the street.
    Anderson declined to say exactly what amount of compensation he would have expected for the pot, but said he did not make a lot of money as a grower.
    "I have an old truck and live in a one-room apartment with my girlfriend and four dogs," Anderson said. "I didn't choose to do this to make money."
    dan.abendschein@sgvn.com
    (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2105


    Thank you!!
    Last edited by 420; 11-29-2009 at 06:29 PM.

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    UPDATE!!! OCT 19th JURY SELECTION WILL START @ 8:30, Dept F. on the 3rd floor Pomona Court!! Sorry for the short notice, I just received word on this change.

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    Judge Charles Horan, Denied us of a medical cannabis defense. He told us if we went with a jury trial he wouldn't allow any of our witness that included 2 collectives/caregivers & Chris Conrad. He told us we would be guaranteed 3 years in a state prison!! But if we do a Court trial we will get 3 years probation 128 days of caltrans or tree duty or county time.
    +register as a narcotic offender, summit DNA, drug testing (Even though we are all legal prop215 patients Judge Charles Horan would rather we be on viciodens than cannabis!! ), Pay fines, we can't be around any cannabis or associate with anyone or anyting having to do with cannabis. I will be forced to move in 60 days I don't know where i will go??? We had no choice but to have a court trial, Judge Charles Horan don't believe that PROP215 is a good law, so denied us of a fair trial!! We will be appealing We need your help in any way!!

    Thank you for everyone that showed up for court support for us!!!

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    Good luck matey.

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    how about an update guys?

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    Exclamation Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    The 2nd court of Appeals has received our case, and is now waiting for the court transcripts. Azusa PD is not compiling with the court order to return all personal belongings, including all computers and medical records. The DA is not helping with this issue also. If the belongings are not returned before Jan 4th, Azusa PD will be subpoena to court.

    I should have more info on the appeal with-in a month. I have had non stop headaches and back and neck pains since i've been ordered by the court NOT to use medical cannabis.....the stress and anxiety from all this has taken it's toll.

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    keep us posted, stay determined and focused and don't let them win!

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    well i was on the phone with the 2nd Appeals court today...good news, i have been appointed a attorney, and they are reviewing the court transcripts. i will be getting more info in a week or two. I'll keep you posted on 420magazine.com!!

    I did go to court last Friday in Pomona, it was a follow up from our trial. Basically he didn't do nothing about the Azusa PD ignoring the court order....i guess cops don't need to follow the law .....He told me in a nut shell that if I'm not Employed & moved out of my residence by Feb 15 (my next court appearance), I'm going to prison....well the good news is that since the first of the year I've had allot of calls for interviews. I picked up one job, now I'm working on a second one. I think 08 will be good to us, Peace!!

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    Is the appointed attorney free, or do you have to bear legal costs yourself?

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided to you at no cost.

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    Thumbs up Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    ....well i will be appointed a appeals attorney free of cost. although I'm wondering, since my public defender was supposed to be free of cost....I'm getting billed 4 grad for her now???? So I suppose it's free if you win...idk, this seems to be a grey area. Allison Margolin will be handling the appeals for one of my co-defendants.

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    i still don't understand why you all didn't just have bruce margolin defend all of you together...

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    Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    You may have to fill out paperwork to prove you cannot afford one, then the state pays it.

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    Thumbs up Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    Quote Originally Posted by 420 View Post
    i still don't understand why you all didn't just have bruce margolin defend all of you together...
    It's a conflict in interest to have him defend all of us....he was defending Charles (3rd co-defendant) up until the readiness date. he wanted another 10 grand to go to trial that next Tuesday. I don't think he would have done much good IMO.... 1] He would have plea bargained anyway 2] The judge wouldn't allow the medical defense or any of our witnesses to testify, that included Chris Conrad and ASA's Don Duccan, plus 2 other Hollywood collective owners. 3] Personally i think he is over rated, i was not that impressed with him when he was in court. We were left out to dry, because of money....down for the cause, yeah what ever.....my PD did more than what he did. Allison IMO is much better, helpful, and compassionate to the cause.

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    Thumbs up Re: Court Support in Los Angeles!

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss-G View Post
    You may have to fill out paperwork to prove you cannot afford one, then the state pays it.
    ...this could be.....I'm going to find out more on this from the appeals attorney.

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