Hilkey sentencing on federal marijuana cultivation charges undecided | TheUnion.com

Hilkey sentencing on federal marijuana cultivation charges undecided

A Wednesday sentencing is up in the air for a San Juan Ridge man facing federal money-laundering and marijuana cultivation charges, after he was arrested Oct. 16 for allegedly violating his release conditions.

The original charges against Charles Miller Hilkey Jr. stem from a raid in September 2009, when agents allegedly uncovered more than 6,000 marijuana plants, 135 pounds of processed marijuana and $200,000 in cash.

Hilkey allegedly was the leader of a significant marijuana operation and “structured” various financial transactions with some of the money made selling marijuana, in order to avoid financial reporting requirements under federal law. He structured at least $859,000 in numerous transactions with one or more domestic financial institutions, usually post offices in Nevada County, according to court documents.

Hilkey pleaded guilty in February to conspiring with others to cultivate marijuana and to structuring financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements. He agreed to forfeit approximately 25 different properties in Oregon and California with a combined value of more than $2.4 million, as well as more than $90,000 in cash.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Beckwith would not comment Monday on why Hilkey was re-arrested, although Nevada County narcotics officers inspected several of Hilkey’s properties several weeks ago.

Hilkey is in custody in Sacramento and is set for a bail hearing today, Beckwith said.

“A pre-trial release violation doesn’t happen that often,” he said. “The parties are talking about (the issues).”

It is not clear whether Hilkey’s sentencing will go forward, Beckwith said, adding that he did not want another postponement.

“This has been going on too long,” he said.

Adding to the likelihood of a postponement, however, was a decision Monday by the presiding judge to recuse herself.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.

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