Court summary |

Court summary

Two 40-year-old Nevada City men charged with growing 185 marijuana plants in the historic Five Mile House face December sentencings after pleading no contest in Nevada County Superior Court.

David J. Gonsalves pleaded no contest Oct. 24 to felony possession of marijuana for sale, and Anthony T. Mercer pleaded no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy.

In April, deputies discovered the pot after going to the house on the report of a shooting. At the time, Mercer was inside the house, a historic landmark on Harmony Ridge owned by Gonsalves’ father. Gonsalves’ lawyer, Kevin Hoeke, said the marijuana belonged to seven people with medical recommendations.

In other cases:

— Frank E. Vargas, 26, was bound over for trial on attempted murder, assault and other charges after a preliminary hearing Thursday. However, Judge John Darlington found insufficient evidence to support special hate crime allegations.

Vargas is accused of trying to kill a man with a knife at a Rough and Ready home on Sept. 7. The Sheriff’s Office says he held a man in a headlock while threatening to stab him in the throat.

At the time, Grass Valley police wanted him for a pair of June 3 incidents in which he allegedly threatened a black man while walking past the man’s house, and later pepper-sprayed a motorist who had stopped to ask if he needed help.

— Jayson Z. Echevarrieta, 22, pleaded innocent Oct. 21 to attempted robbery, brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner, and battery. The Sheriff’s Office alleges he threatened his boss Oct. 8 with a chainsaw after an argument about $10 his boss owed him.

In a letter to The Union from Wayne Brown Correctional Facility, Echevarrieta said he never wielded a chainsaw. “I struck him in the face with my closed fist one time. He then pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me,” the letter says.

— Pierre C. Ensign, 41, of Nevada City was arraigned Oct. 28 on three counts of sexual abuse. The alleged abuse occurred in 1997 against a teen-age girl, according to the criminal complaint. He’s scheduled to enter a plea Nov. 14.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User