Marijuana Cultivation, Other Felony Charges for Spanish Fork Couple

marijuana cultivation for Spanish Fork couple

Photo: A7nubis/Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, Feb. 26, a husband and wife in Spanish Fork were arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation for an operation set up in a shed on their property. The couple was booked into the Utah County Jail and is being investigated for numerous other felony and misdemeanor offenses.

That’s Why You Buy an RV

In the popular AMC television drama “Breaking Bad,” the main characters obtain a large RV which they drive to the middle of the desert and produce methamphetamines. One of the reasons they do this is the smell produced by the chemical reactions required to manufacture the drug. Edwin and Valerie Steward of Spanish Fork would’ve been wise to heed this bit of plot.

According to a report from KSL News, detectives performed a walk-by of the Steward residence on Saturday, Feb. 21, after receiving a tip that the couple was growing marijuana on their property. According to a probable cause statement, detectives picked up “the distinct odor of marijuana.”

Detectives returned Thursday with the Department of Child and Family Services on what KSL is calling “an unrelated case.” They asked for permission to search the Steward’s shed, but Valerie Steward refused to give consent. Not long after the visit, detectives observed the Stewards loading boxes into a truck “very rapid(ly).”

After the Stewards left the residence in the truck, officers performed a traffic stop and found numerous marijuana plants, soil, fertilizers, horticulture lights, and various other items used for marijuana cultivation.

Edwin Steward claimed the marijuana was for personal use. Both Stewards tested positive for THC, and Valerie Steward also tested positive for PCP. After Edwin signed a consent form, detectives found the shed to be “equipped for the cultivation of marijuana including a ventilation system.”

Apparently not a good enough one.

Two firearms were also located on the premises. When all was said and done, the couple is being investigated on suspicion of drug paraphernalia, marijuana cultivation, obstruction of justice, and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. All of the drug charges have the additional penalty dealing with the fact that the Steward’s lived in a Utah designated drug-free zone.

Marijuana Cultivation is a Felony

According to the Utah Criminal Code 57-37-8 of the Utah Controlled Substances Act as applies to the Stewards, it is “unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally; produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.” The Utah Code lists marijuana cultivation with Schedule III or IV substances as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

However, again, the Steward’s lived in a drug-free zone. A first degree felony is punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Either way, marijuana cultivation is a very serious charge. If you or someone you know has been charged with marijuana cultivation—or any other charge—be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Don’t leave your future—or potential lack of one—in the hands of a public defender.

Threat of Terrorism Charge for Man Threatening Provo PD

Threat of terrorism to Provo PD

Photo: Fabexplosive/Wikimedia Commons

Between Tuesday, Feb. 17 and Friday, Feb. 20, three men and one woman were arrested after allegedly making threats against the Provo Police Department. One of the men was charged with a threat of terrorism.

Don’t Write it if You Don’t Mean it. Or Maybe Just Don’t Write it.

According to KSL News, the incident that set the stage for the threat of terrorism charges was the fatal shooting of Cody Evans, 24, of Springville, on Sunday, Feb. 15. A Provo police officer and a Utah County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Evans after he pointed what they believed to be an assault rifle at them. It was later determined that Evans had two different pellet guns.

The same day Evans was killed, “concerned citizens” reported to Provo police that they had seen several threatening messages on social media, including one that read: “To provo pd. Beware of c4 and dat 50cal … I’m fed up yall killin my homies, im killin u!” Provo police said “c4” was in reference to “an explosive that has the capability to cause mass casualties and substantial property damage.” This is where the threat of terrorism comes into play.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, Brandon Stacy West was arrested after attempting to purchase a firearm. West wasn’t the poster of the comments, however, the attempted purchase went against his probation, and he allegedly had spoken of “retaliation.”

The poster of the comments, Michael Leon Angus, also reportedly referred to a “Fletcher” and asked who else was “down to ride on these pigs,” to which Jacob Fletcher responded, “You know I am …”

Police arrested Fletcher on Wednesday, Feb. 18, on multiple felony warrants. Lindsay Parker, 25, made the third suspect to be arrested. Parker had been with Fletcher for several days, including driving him around the day they were arrested. She admitted in a police affidavit that she knew Fletcher was on the run. In addition to obstruction of justice, Parker was booked on several drug charges.

Angus was the last link in the chain, and he was arrested on Friday, Feb. 20, and booked on investigation of a threat of terrorism. In a statement released by the Provo Police Department, Angus “admitted that he had posted threatening comments about Provo police officers, but claimed he was just upset and did not intend to do anything.”

Threat of Terrorism Seriousness Depends on Circumstances

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-5-107.3, a threat of terrorism can range from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony. The misdemeanor would be “if the person threatens to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage,” and cause “an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the person’s conduct posing a serious and substantial risk to the general public.”

In the case of Angus, the fact that he mentioned the C4 explosive jumped the charges up to a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, because he threatened to use a “weapon of mass destruction” as defined in Utah Criminal Code 76-10-401.

This is not to say that Angus didn’t have a right to be upset, however, the lesson is to be aware of how you vent such strong emotions. Putting them in writing on the Internet is not the way to handle it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a threat of terrorism, don’t leave fate in the hands of a public defender. Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Pantless Man Charged with Lewdness, Intoxication, and More

pantless man gets lewdness charges

Photo: Sarah Marie Jones/Wikimedia Commons

Early Saturday morning, Feb. 7, an intoxicated man entered an apartment near a party he had been attending wearing nothing below the waist but a pair of socks. The man was chased by police and arrested for lewdness and other charges.

Several Drinks Too Many

Some parties require the attendees to turn in their keys to ensure no drunk driving incidents, but apparently Austin Jeffery Noble, 21, took this one step further and simply surrendered his pants.

According to a report from KSL News, sometime before 4 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, Noble left a party he was attending and wandered into a nearby apartment wearing nothing more than a hooded sweatshirt, bowtie, and socks. Enter the first potential charges for criminal trespass, burglary, and lewdness.

The arrest affidavit states that at this point, he laid down next to a sleeping 17-year-old girl and began touching her inappropriately. Next potential charges of forcible sex abuse. The girl woke up, and after she and her sister confronted Noble, he fled the apartment.

When police showed up, they found Noble still without his pants. A brief foot pursuit occurred (next charge: failure to stop at the command of a police officer) before police caught up with him. Noble claimed that he didn’t remember anything before the foot chase. A breathalyzer test showed Noble’s BAC at .209, more than twice the legal limit, and added on intoxication to his list of charges. Noble was booked into the Davis County Jail.

No Pants Equals Lewdness

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-9-902, lewdness is defined as an act not amounting to rape, sodomy, aggravated sexual assault, or forcible sexual abuse (which is already on the list for Noble) but which will still cause affront or alarm to one who is over 14 years old. This may include an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy (in the presence of the minor), masturbating, or in the case of Noble, exposing the genitals, female breast below the areola, buttocks, anus, or pubic area.

Lewdness is considered a class B misdemeanor on the first or second conviction, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, on the third conviction, or if the person is already a sex offender, lewdness becomes a third degree felony, punishable up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with lewdness, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the law and will look out for your best interests.