Marijuana Cultivation in Utah

Four young adults were arrested in Cache County, Utah for multiple drug charges including marijuana cultivation.

Photo by: Mark

Photo by: Mark

Drug Raid in Northern Utah

During a raid on a Logan Utah home on July 21st 2015, four people between the ages of 18 and 21 years old were arrested when officers arrived at the home in the early morning hours with a search warrant.  Located inside with the four individuals were two pounds of marijuana, mushrooms, and two marijuana plants.  Since the plants were found, marijuana cultivation will be added to the possession charges.

Illegal gardening

Whether it’s a mini garden consisting of a couple plants in a home closet or hundreds of plants spread across acres of land, marijuana cultivation is against the law in the state of Utah.  While neighboring states may be relaxing laws regarding possession and marijuana cultivation, Utah so far has not.  Those found guilty of marijuana cultivation can face up to five years in prison.

Law and penalties for marijuana cultivation

Utah code 58-37-8 states that “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.”  Any person found violating this law in regards to marijuana is guilty of a 3rd degree felony while repeat offenses would be 2nd degree felonies.

In due time

Excluding the nineteen states where marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes; four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well.  All of those states where recreational marijuana use is legal are surrounding Utah in the western United States.  It’s just a matter of time before the majority of the states including Utah have similar laws.  Until then, possession or marijuana cultivation is not worth the consequences.  For more information on marijuana laws, or to seek counsel regarding possession or marijuana cultivation charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Undercover Agents Plundered the Dread Pirate Roberts

Undercover agents Carl Force (DEA) and Shaun Bridges (Secret Service) are facing charges including money laundering and wire fraud after they plundered the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Photo by: Nicolas Raymond

Photo by: Nicolas Raymond

Who is this Dread Pirate Roberts?

Ross Ulbricht, AKA the Dread Pirate Roberts was owner of Silk Road – an online black market.  Silk Road was an internet platform where illegal drugs and other contraband were sold and purchased.  It ran on the darknet Tor, an anonymous network where users could browse, purchase, and sell without being tracked by authorities.  Regrettably for Ulbricht, Silk Road was tracked and about to be taken down…but not before it was plundered first.

Arr, stole his bitcoins they did

Undercover agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges were both involved in a task force to bring down Silk Road and its creator, the infamous Dread Pirate Roberts (Ulbricht).  Force was working under the alias of Nob, a big time drug dealer and had been corresponding under that alias with Ulbricht throughout the investigation.  During the investigation of Silk Road, Force and Bridges commandeered the account of  Silk Road admin Curtis Green from Spanish Fork, UT that Force had recently arrested and used his account to steal bitcoins from Silk Road users. Ulbricht discovered that 350 thousand dollars’ worth of bitcoins were pilfered off his website and tracked the stolen funds back to Green’s account.

Dead men tell no tales

After speaking with a close confident and assuming that Green was in fact the one who stole from Silk Road accounts, Ulbricht decided that the scallywag must be dealt the ultimate punishment for the theft- death.  Ironically, he hired Nob (Force) of all people to kill Green.  Curtis Green was willing to cooperate fully with the authorities after he was arrested during a setup by Force, and especially when he heard about the hit that Ulbricht put out on him. Force and Bridges worked together with Green to stage the very realistic appearing torture and murder of Green.  Pictures were taken during the spectacle and sent to Ulbricht for confirmation of the hit.  Not only was the Dread Pirate Roberts satisfied, he paid Force a hefty amount of doubloons for the deed. There were 5 other hits by Ulbricht noted during the investigation, however no more evidence has been located.

Scrub the poop deck or walk the plank?

Ulbricht will find out on Friday is he is facing 20 years or life in prison for his kingpin role in the drug trafficking website.  An intelligent young man that used his talents poorly, Ulbricht begged the judge for leniency in an eloquently written, one and a half page letter. Ulbricht will definitely be serving at least 20 years in prison for his crimes, but he hopes to not spend the rest of his life behind bars.  That dream is a possibility seeing how he is not facing any charges of attempted murder. Why those charges are being left out, one can only assume.  It is possible that bringing those charges to the table will put further light on the warped dealings of the federal agents in this case.  So what is to be done for those crooked agents? At this time, both Force and Bridges are looking at federal charges of money laundering and wire fraud. Force is also facing charges of conflict of interest and theft of government property.

Batten down the hatches

Crimes via the internet are quickly evolving and bringing down savvy, curious computer users in its wake.  Dealing with websites that are run off hidden networks is dangerous and very often involve illegal activity.  If you are someone you know has gotten involved in illegal internet activity, contact a criminal defense attorney that understands the laws pertaining to internet crimes.

Man Arrested for DUI After Hitting Sheriff’s Vehicle

DUI charges

Photo: Weber County Sheriff’s Office/KSL News

Icy roads were to blame for many accidents on Saturday, Jan. 10, but it was driving under the influence (DUI) that landed one man in jail. Other charges included drug possession and leaving the scene of an accident.

“Wrong Place at the Wrong Time” Doesn’t Mean You can Leave

According to a report from KSL News, on Saturday evening, Weber County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene of several accidents in Ogden Canyon near 4500 East, just east of the Pineview Reservoir spillway. Four vehicles had slid off the road due primarily to the icy conditions (the DUI would come shortly). Fortunately only minor injuries were reported, however, deputies were on the scene to shut down State Route 39 while road crews could put down salt and sand.

At approximately 10:40 p.m., one deputy had his patrol pickup truck parked with his overhead flashers on to stop oncoming traffic when another pickup truck came around a corner at high speed, lost control, and crashed into the back of the deputy’s vehicle. The driver of the truck sped off, and the deputy was able to pursue in the damaged vehicle, catching him near the spillway.

The driver of the truck, Bruce Southwick, was arrested for investigation of DUI, drug possession, and leaving the scene of an accident.

DUI Severity Depends on Circumstances

While most people think of a DUI as referring to alcohol, according to Utah Code 41-6a-502, a person is guilty of a DUI if he/she is driving “under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle.” Given the fact that Southwick also was charged for drug possession, this is probably the case.

The lowest charge for a DUI is a class B misdemeanor, even on a second offense. It goes up to a class A misdemeanor if the driver inflicts “bodily injury” on another, had a passenger under 16 years of age, or was 21 years of age or older with a passenger under 18 years of age. The charge jumps to a third degree felony if the driver inflicts “serious bodily injury” or has two or more prior convictions within ten years.

Even the lowest charge of a class B misdemeanor can result in jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will have your best interests in mind.