A department of Justice led raid on a marijuana grow in the Penn Valley area Tuesday led to 5 arrests and more than 500 marijuana plants and 50 pounds of processed marijuana being seized.
The investigation targeted a drug trafficking organization involved in a large-scale, illegal indoor marijuana growing operation which was cultivating marijuana inside large green houses and supplying processed marijuana to dispensaries in the Los Angeles area and Arizona.
During the operation, which began in January of this year, agents served four state search warrants at four locations in the Penn Valley and Smartsville areas. The investigation has resulted in five arrests, and the seizure of more than 500 mature marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, two loaded firearms (one semi-automatic handgun and one revolver), more than 870 rounds of ammunition, and small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine.
Agents also froze 10 bank accounts belonging to the individuals arrested and seized approximately $15,000 in U.S. currency. Those arrested during Tuesday’s operation are Joseph William Axtel,age 56, of Penn Valley ($1 million bail), 48 year old Eric Steven Moffatt of Smartsville, Lesley Nemeth age 51, of Penn Valley ($500,000 bail), ; Jinny Janow 41 of Smartsville, ; and 32 year old Jeff Santos of Penn Valley .
They have been booked into the Nevada County Jail and currently face state charges ranging from possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, and a felon in possession of a firearm. Joseph Axtell and Eric Moffatt are convicted felons.
The investigation is a collaborative effort led by California Department of Justice Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, and assisted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Nevada County Sheriff’s Department, Placer Special Investigations Unit and Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team.