Drug Enforcement Administration

San Francisco

Christopher Nielsen, Special Agent in Charge

May 14, 2013

Contact: Casey Rettig

Phone Number: (415) 436-7994

Trinity County Man Sentenced For Growing Marijuana On Multiple Properties

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -  - United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton sentenced William Robert Barsanti, 27, of Junction City, Calif., today to five years in prison for growing marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Barsanti also forfeited to the federal government the property upon which marijuana was being grown.

According to court documents, sheriff’s deputies searched three Trinity County properties owned by Barsanti and seized a total of 2,769 marijuana plants and five pounds of processed marijuana. On August 5, 2011, a property in the Barker Creek area of Hayfork was searched and three people were arrested on state marijuana cultivation charges. Deputies seized 2,142 marijuana plants from 22 greenhouses. On August 16, 2011, at a property near the Felter Gulch area of Junction City, 485 marijuana plants were seized. On September 28, 2011, at 360 North Oak Avenue, Hayfork, deputies encountered Barsanti, who was detained as law enforcement conducted the search. As a result of this warrant, law enforcement seized 142 marijuana plants and approximately five pounds of processed marijuana.

According to court documents, at the time of his arrest, Barsanti told the officers that he would never be convicted of growing marijuana in Trinity County because marijuana growing enforcement “was a joke” since so many people there grow marijuana and that is who would be on the jury. He later pleaded guilty, however, to federal criminal charges of marijuana cultivation. Federal juries in this district are drawn from multiple counties.

U.S. Attorney Wagner said: “In some areas of the district, including some parts of Trinity County, commercial-style, large-scale marijuana growing for profit is common and some people attempt to shield such conduct under state medical marijuana laws. Those who engage in such conduct should understand that they are not in compliance with state law, they are violating federal law, and they are risking arrest and lengthy federal prison sentences, in addition to the forfeiture of the property on which marijuana is grown.”

This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel S. McConkie and Richard Bender prosecuted the case.

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