Pot defendant’s lawyer appointed | TheUnion.com

Pot defendant’s lawyer appointed

Claiming he didn’t have money to hire legal help, a man accused of growing marijuana inside the Historic Five Mile House was appointed a lawyer at his arraignment Monday in Nevada County Superior Court.

“They seized all my money,” Anthony Mercer, 40, said of the Sheriff’s Office to Judge William Skillman.

Skillman appointed him Nevada City lawyer Scott Thomsen and ordered the defendant to appear May 20 to enter a plea. Mercer’s co-defendant, Banner Mountain resident David J. Gonsalves, is scheduled to be arraigned June 10.

Narcotics agents reported finding 185 plants, lamps and other growing equipment at the Highway 20 landmark east of Nevada City after deputies smelled marijuana while responding to a gunfire complaint April 24. Gonsalves’ father reportedly owns the building, which had been a longtime restaurant, and Mercer had resided there about four months.

Mercer, who said he’s now residing in Foresthill, didn’t indicate in court which of his assets were seized and declined comment after the hearing.

The Sheriff’s Office seized $1,300 cash at the building, but no other funds have been seized, Undersheriff John Trauner said. His office has been talking with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency about the possibility of forfeiting the building, although no formal steps have been taken, he said.

Gonsalves’ lawyer, Kevin Hoeke of Nevada City, has said the marijuana crop belonged to five medical marijuana patients.

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