Think I found the article on it. Interesting!
Posted: 4:51 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2012
DISCOVERY BAY, Calif. — A year-long federal investigation into a large-scale pot ring based out of Contra Costa County culminated in law enforcement arresting 19 people and seizing massive quantities of marijuana, weapons and cash Wednesday morning, according to the DEA Sacramento District Office.
Hundreds of law enforcement personnel served federal arrest and search warrants without incident Wednesday on individuals between the ages of 21 and 57 from Alameda, Contra Costa and Stanislaus counties in what the DEA dubbed "Operation Disco Dazed."
The DEA believes that marijuana from the multi-county operation was trafficked in locally and beyond California.
Upon serving the search and arrest warrants, law enforcement seized 3,606 marijuana plants from 14 indoor grow operations, 96 pounds of processed cannabis, 36 firearms, a 37-mm grenade launcher, 13 motor vehicles, 5 boats and $400,000, DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced today.
According to the DEA, those involved with the operation face charges related to the manufacture of, possession of and intent to distribute marijuana, as well as charges of conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana and maintaining a place for manufacture and distribution of marijuana.
The individuals arrested were from Fremont, Byron, Discovery Bay, Rio Vista, Oakley, Tracy, Fresno, Brentwood, Patterson, Mountain House and Salida.
DEA agents investigated a hydroponic equipment retailer operating in Tracy and Hayward, Grower's Choice Hydroponics. According to the DEA, the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint states Steven Ortega Sr., 50, and Marla Ortega, 57, both of Byron, own both retail stores.
Agents determined that Steven Ortega Sr. and his 25-year-old son, Steven Ortega Jr., of Discovery Bay, allegedly directed a drug trafficking organization that used the stores to provide growing equipment to partners in exchange for a cut of profits from the marijuana sold.
Law enforcement also arrested Kevin Kuester, 43, of Fremont; Steven Adgate, 30, of Rio Vista; Jake Weterman, 22, of Livermore; Matt Ortega, 21, Jay Dupee, 50, and Bryan Swiers, 31, all of Byron; Anthony Giarrusso, 24, Brock Enrico, 25, and Kyle Schmidt, 25, all of Oakley; Todd Becerra, 38, and Joseph Mirante, 40, of Tracy; Travis Olibas, 23, of Fresno; Justin McMillian, 32, of Salida; Shawn Thompson, 43, of Mountain House; Frederick Laurens, 29, of Brentwood; and Jason Siegfried, 28, of Patterson.
The defendants were scheduled to appear today in Sacramento Federal Court.
If convicted of the conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana, they could face a maximum possible sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years in prison and a $4 million fine.
Conviction for maintaining a place for manufacture and distribution of marijuana carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.