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Marijuana Business Owner Sentenced to 87 Months

JULY 8 (FRESNO, Calif.) — Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that David Chavez, Sr., 53, of Bakersfield, was sentenced today in front of United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, after pleading guilty December 17, 2012 to conspiring to distribute marijuana.  Chavez, with two prior state drug convictions, received a sentence of 87 months in custody, to be followed by a 5-year term of supervised release.  In addition, the District Court ordered forfeiture of more than $50,000 seized during the investigation of this case.

According to court records, the business Nature’s Medicinal was owned and/or operated by David Chavez, Jr., who referred to himself as the CEO of the company, and David Chavez, Sr., who was referred to by corporate records as the treasurer of Nature’s Medicinal and was also the owner of the real property upon which the business operated.  According to the indictment, between September 2004 and February 2006, the business earned $16 million from selling marijuana with a cost of 5.5 million.

Court records show that Chavez, Sr., and Chavez, Jr., reopened the business after law enforcement executed search warrants on the business location and the personal residences of the owners on May 1, 2007.  Additional search and warrants were executed on July 16, 2007.  Both warrant executions resulted in the seizure of more than 200 pounds of marijuana and marijuana laced food products, more than $57,000 in cash, and two firearms which were found at the business.
On January 29, 2013, David Chavez, Jr., was sentenced to a term of 48 months in custody.  Six other defendants have also previously been sentenced in this case for conspiring to distribute marijuana.  Timothy Glenn Doolittle, 42, was sentenced to a term of 30 months in prison, followed by a five-year term of supervision.  Jennifer Diane Brown, 37, was sentenced to a 12 month prison term, followed by a three year term of supervision.  John Shanks was sentenced to a term of 20 months and a three-year term of supervised release.  Israel Cavazos, 38, was sentenced to a prison term of 42 months, followed by a three-year term of supervised release. John Wyatt, 31, was sentenced to a prison term of 30 months, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.  Jonathan Michael Chapman, 32, was sentenced to a term of 37 months in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

This case is the product of an extensive/joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, Southern Tri-County High Intensity Drug Task Force, and the Internal Revenue Service.  Assistant United States Attorney Kathleen A. Servatius prosecuted the case.



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