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Narcotics detectives arrest Alta Sierra couple in connection with honey oil lab

An Alta Sierra couple who recently applied for a medical cannabis business permit in Nevada City were arrested Thursday morning on drug manufacturing charges.

Detectives from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force, in conjunction with the El Dorado County Narcotics Task Force, executed a criminal search warrant at the residence of Todd and Alaina Dougherty, in the 18000 block of Connie Drive in Alta Sierra.

El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies executed their search warrant in the Garden Valley area, where they located what was described as a sophisticated, closed loop butane honey oil lab.

Sheriff’s detectives located a sophisticated illegal cannabis oil alcohol distillation lab on Connie Drive, said Sgt. Justin Martin, the head of the Narcotics Task Force.

Detectives also reportedly located approximately 10 pounds of finished cannabis oil, an estimated 1,000 small envelopes with a company name, used to package the cannabis oil, and several hundred small envelopes containing cannabis oil.

Todd Dougherty, 32, and Alaina Dougherty, 29, were located at the residence and were subsequently arrested and booked into the county jail on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy. They were released on $35,000 bail each.

Todd Dougherty is listed as the managing partner for Sky Farms LLC, which applied for a non-retail medical cannabis business permit in Nevada City in February. Their application touts their business as “safe, efficient and craftsman-style extraction using engineer-certified, closed-looped equipment.”

The principals of Sky Farms had to pass a background check for that initial approval by the Planning Commission. Dougherty, a U.S. Army veteran, was described in the permit application as having operated a cannabis extract company and having delivered medicine to 16 dispensaries for three years.

Planning Commissioners approved the permit application in April. But Sky Farms has not completed its conditions of approval and has not been issued a permit, City Planner Amy Wolfson said Friday.

According to Wolfson, prior to receiving its business permit, the Nevada City Police Department has to sign off on Sky Farms’ application. Asked whether the arrest of Dougherty would jeopardize that process, Wolfson said it would depend on whether charges are filed and if there was a pending investigation.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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