Thursday, December 7, 2023

Ukiah Resident Convicted of Unlawfully Cultivating Non-Licensed Cannabis


The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:

Zachary Pierre Brown [Picture from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Booking Logs]

Defendant Zachary Pierre Brown, 41, of Ukiah, had his day in court – again — Wednesday. Brown was convicted by guilty plea on Oct. 23 and this week he was back in the Mendocino County Superior Court for his post-plea formal sentencing hearing. 

Brown stands convicted of maintaining a location for the unlawful cultivation of non-licensed (illegal) cannabis, a felony. Brown was placed on 36 months of supervised probation and ordered him to serve 180 days in the Mendocino County Jail. 

While on probation, the defendant cannot possess more than eight ounces of medical cannabis, assuming he has first obtained a written medical recommendation from a license California physician. 

In accepting probation, he also has agreed to a 4th Amendment waiver (search clause), testing, 200 hours of community service, a $2,000 penal fine, and other terms, and conditions. 

He will not be allowed to cultivate or otherwise be involved in the sales of cannabis — legal or otherwise — for the term of his probation. 

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 Brown was also ordered to have prepared and to pay for an environmental remediation plan to be presented to biologists with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Once approved, the defendant has been ordered to pay to have that approved clean-up plan executed to the satisfaction of the biologists at the Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

As documented by law enforcement and reiterated in the Probation Department’s sentencing report, Brown was operating a commercial plant nursery on Boonville Road, selling unlicensed cannabis clones for a profit to interested buyers. 

Operating under the name “Phresh Start,” the defendant told law enforcement that he did not like doing business with trimmers and marijuana bud dealers; that he would make more money by simply raising and selling starter plants (clones) in the black market. 

During the January 2020 search of the defendant’s property, 5,050 cannabis plants and 23 pounds of processed cannabis were seized. 

Law enforcement agents from the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, assisted by deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, wardens and environmental scientists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and soldiers from the California National Guard, obtained and served a search warrant to conduct an environmental investigation of the location relating to unlicensed cannabis cultivation. 

As anticipated during that investigation, the search party found multiple environmental violations of law all relating to the defendant’s on-site commercial and unlicensed factory operation. 

At the time of the search, the defendant was also still on an informal grant of probation, having been earlier convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court of misdemeanor domestic battery and DUI. That probation was terminated Wednesday as unsuccessful and the defendant was ordered to serve an additional 40 days in the county jail for having violated terms of his probation, that violation time to be served consecutive to the cannabis time.

Brown was also convicted in the Mendocino County Superior Court in 2017 of a misdemeanor marijuana offense. He was on court probation for two years for that conviction, an informal probation that expired in March 2019. Less than a year later, he was back in hot water with the law because of his continuing involvement with black market marijuana.

The attorney who handled the prosecution of this defendant is District Attorney David Eyster. Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge Ann Moorman sentenced Brown. 

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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