Liz Kellar

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April 25, 2014
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Penn Valley woman to be released to feds on meth warrant

A Penn Valley woman arrested locally on several occasions last year on drug sales charges will be released into federal custody on at least one case.

One criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court earlier this month, charging Dawn Theresa Lee with possessing 50 grams of meth with intent to distribute; she faces a potential sentence of 10 years to life.

In the federal complaint, DEA Agent Brian Nehring wrote that he was contacted by a Nevada County sheriff’s deputy regarding Lee after a November 2013 arrest.

Lee has multiple felony convictions for grand theft and property crimes, as well as multiple arrests for possession of controlled substances for sale. She had been arrested in June 2013 on charges of possessing drug paraphernalia, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest and destroying evidence, according to the complaint.

She then was arrested in early August 2013 on petty theft of drug paraphernalia charges.

On Aug. 12, 2013, Nevada County sheriff’s deputies conducted a compliance search of Lee’s residence in the 19000 block of Penn Valley Drive.

Lee was under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the complaint. During a search of the residence, deputies reportedly located approximately 22 grams of meth in seven separate bags, a digital scale, packaging, and $700 in her wallet.

Lee reportedly admitted that the meth belonged to her and was arrested on charges that included possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Members of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force then served a search warrant at Lee’s residence in November of 2013 and reportedly located 116 grams of suspected meth in two bags, a digital scale and packaging material, as well as $1,200 in cash. Lee admitted that the methamphetamine belonged to her and that she was obtaining it in quarter-pound or more quantities on a regular basis for distribution, Nehring wrote in the complaint.

Lee currently has five open cases in Nevada County Superior Court, including one from a March arrest after she was pulled over by a deputy and reportedly was found with 54 grams of meth and drug paraphernalia.

She was in Nevada County Superior Court Thursday for a hearing, during which Deputy District Attorney Oliver Pong asked for an official order to release her from local custody, noting that several complaints have been filed federally.

Judge Candace Heidelberger ordered that Lee be released to federal authorities on the arrest warrant, saying she would put a detainer to bring her back to Nevada County in each of her files.

“That way, we’ll get her back once the feds are done with her,” she said.

Lee was scheduled to return to court here on May 8; Heidelberger left that date on the court calendar to make sure she had been picked up.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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The Union Updated Apr 25, 2014 11:30PM Published Apr 29, 2014 05:53PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.