Violations lead to rearrest of San Juan Ridge man
San Juan Ridge resident Charles Miller Hilkey Jr. was arrested Tuesday, just eight days before his scheduled sentencing on federal money-laundering and marijuana cultivation charges, for allegedly violating his release conditions.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Beckwith, the prosecutor in the federal case against Hilkey, did not return a call for comment on the specifics of those violations.
But the week before Hilkey’s most recent arrest, members of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force were out at several properties he owns on Tyler Foote Crossing and Patterson Mine roads, according to dispatch reports.
In September 2009, nearly 200 law enforcement officers and agents had raided nine locations on property belonging to Hilkey, finding more than 6,000 marijuana plants, 135 pounds of processed marijuana and $200,000 in cash.
A criminal investigator from the IRS analyzed Hilkey’s financial documents, which revealed money laundering designed to conceal narcotic-related proceeds.
According to court documents, Hilkey was the leader of a significant marijuana operation, although the marijuana being grown on multiple properties was ostensibly for medical purposes.
He and his confederates “structured” various financial transactions with some of the money they made selling marijuana, in order to avoid financial reporting requirements under federal law.
Hilkey 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.
Between 2006 and 2009, Hilkey also amassed a significant amount of real property, which is now being forfeited to the federal government.
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.
The amount of time Hilkey had been facing for those charges is unclear; a press release stated he faced a maximum statutory penalty for the marijuana charge of 40 years in prison, plus a maximum of 10 years for structuring transactions.
There is was a five-year mandatory minimum sentence associated with the marijuana charge.
Hilkey’s attorney, J. David Nick, had indicated in court documents that he was objecting to findings in the pre-sentence report, including the quantity of marijuana he was responsible for, as well as a weapons enhancement.
Hilkey allegedly emailed friends and community members in August, requesting letters of support be sent to the sentencing judge that indicated he expected a sentence of one to four years.
After multiple continuances, Hilkey was set to be sentenced Oct. 24.
Hilkey is in custody in Sacramento and was set to be arraigned on the new charges Wednesday. However, his defense attorney failed to appear, and the matter was continued to today, said Lauren Horwood, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.
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