7 places raided in Sacramento pot bust

6:38 PM, Oct 12, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA -- Neighbors knew something big was happening when two U-Haul trucks pulled up and officers started loading plastic bags. 

As it turns out, those bags were filled with marijuana, not for medical use but for "straight up drug deals," California Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory said. 

State DOJ agents, supported by Sacramento County sheriff's deputies, raided the commercial/industrial building on the 3500 block of La Grande Boulevard Wednesday morning.  

A neighbor, Jim Wion of Wion Body Shop, said he thought something was fishy. He said the place had been a church until about six months ago.

Officers were seen loading up one U-Haul truck with pot and growing equipment; the second U-Haul was headed out to a warehouse on the 6800 block of Front Street in Rio Linda.

Gregory said officers were raiding a total of seven locations suspected of being part of this marijuana operation. Agents seized 2,500 plants and 140 pounds of processed marijuana, Gregory said.

Agents were also seizing luxury cars and boats, according to the search warrant.

Four men were indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the case: Peter Holzmann, Thomas Holzmann, Joseph Andrade and Jonathan Sherman.

The investigation of the marijuana operation began after a pot bust in December 2010 in North Sacramento. 

One suspect described the operation as a "lucrative business" and used the drug sales to pay for everyday expenses, vehicles, and other luxury items, according to the warrant.

Agents used bank statements, cell phone records and confidential informants to track the suspects. 

The search warrant said the men were selling the marijuana online. Police also seized a package in September the suspects were trying to ship through postal mail from California to New York.

At the warehouse in South Sacramento, Wion said an electrician recently installed a heavy duty panel in the building, but the place never opened for business. 

The building had no markings, and the garage was reinforced with heavy steel bars behind the roll-up door.

Gregory said the suspects were not claiming medical marijuana use.

"They are straight up drug dealers," Gregory said.


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