Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer

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January 24, 2009
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Pot bust nets large indoor grow

With the outdoor marijuana harvest over, some Nevada County growers have turned indoors in a big way.

A large pot bust at three indoor sites netted 365 marijuana plants, about 45 pounds of processed marijuana for sale and two arrests this week by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office. A similar bust occurred in mid-January, when a Nevada City residence was raided with 288 plants confiscated and two more men were arrested.

This week, the county's Narcotics Task Force and investigators working with gathered intelligence arrested Kiel A. Wilson, 24, and Tobias S. Cole, 32, at a residence on the 14000 block of Oak Meadow Road near Penn Valley.

Both were booked late Wednesday night into county jail on suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possessing it for sale. They were released after making bail set at $10,000 apiece.

Officers serving a warrant on a large barn on the property discovered 238 plants in a sophisticated indoor growing operation, Sheriff Keith Royal said.

"It was amazing they found that many plants at this time of year," Royal said. The rest of the plants, $33,000 in cash, scales, packaging and ledger sheets, allegedly also were found when warrants were served on a home on the property and two other indoor-grow residences in the Nevada City area.

When officers first arrived, they found two women on the 65-acre site, one 34 years old and another 33, one of whom was Cole's wife, Royal said. When officers tried to open the locked barn, Cole's wife called him to get the keys, Royal said.

About that same time, officers saw Cole come out of the residence on a hill above the barn and allegedly stash a box in the bushes, Royal said.

Cole then tried to drive off of the property but was detained by deputies. Wilson was arrested inside the garage.

Officers found the box and land title information inside the Nevada City residences, which triggered search warrants for those locations, Royal said.

One property outside of Nevada City had a quonset hut full of plants, while the rest were found in a Nevada City home, according to Sgt. Bill Smethers of the task force.

The quonset hut was a mixed grow in that some of the plants in it were in bare ground, while others were in pots.

"They had propane heaters on the plants to keep them warm and lights," Smethers said Friday. "We have indoor grows all the time, but it's winter, so we're seeing a lot more of them now."

"No weapons were found, and neither of the females were arrested," Royal said.

Whether they will be arrested later depends on a pending discussion with the District Attorney's Office, he added.

At this point, there are no other suspects, Royal said. Investigators found 10 marijuana recommendations from doctors during the raid, three of which proved to be legitimate.

In Nevada County, possession of a medical marijuana use recommendation from a doctor allows six plants to be grown for that person, according to guidelines set up by District Attorney Cliff Newell.

Under those parameters, 18 of the 365 plants would be legal in the county.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call 477-4237.

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The Union Updated Jan 24, 2009 01:30AM Published Jan 24, 2009 01:23AM Copyright 2009 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.