FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2008
Contact: Casey McEnry
Joshua Hedlund Convicted For Berkeley Marijuana Grow
Defendant Forfeits Land and Money and Consents to Searches of Thousands
of Acres of Land in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties
FEB 6 -- (OAKLAND, CA) - United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña announced that Joshua L. Hedlund, 31, pleaded guilty today to using a Berkeley warehouse for the manufacture of marijuana and to laundering the proceeds of that illegal marijuana grow. This guilty plea is the result of a two year investigation by the Berkeley Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
In pleading guilty, Mr. Hedlund admitted that between the late spring and early summer of 2003 through March 2006, he knowingly allowed others to grow marijuana at a warehouse located at 807 and 809 Allston Way in Berkeley, California. The defendant agreed that the United States would be able to prove that 2700 plants were grown at this address. He also admitted to using the proceeds of the marijuana grown at the Allston Way warehouse to pay his mortgage on the warehouse.
As part of the plea agreement, Hedlund agreed to forfeit more than $1,000,000 in proceeds from the Berkeley grow and money he received from others for the purchase of properties in Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, and Trinity counties.
Mr. Hedlund also agreed to forfeit his right to more than 7000 acres in Humboldt and Trinity counties that Hedlund purchased from the Eel River Saw Mill in the name of Vilica LLC. In addition to forfeiting the Vilica LLC parcels, Hedlund agreed that federal, state, and local law enforcement and code enforcement officials may, at any time, conduct warrantless searches of the more than 5000 acres Hedlund controls throughout Humboldt and Mendocino counties in the name of Schmook Ranch LLC. The Berkeley Police Department began investigating the Allston Way grow in early 2006. Surveillance of that location led to the arrest of six other individuals, all of whom have pled guilty to charges related to the cultivation of marijuana at the Berkeley warehouse.
The sentencing of Mr. Hedlund is scheduled for May 16, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge D. Lowell Jensen in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for using a warehouse to cultivate marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(1) is twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum penalty for money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(A)(I) is also twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
H.H. (Shashi) Kewalramani and Keslie Stewart are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Cynthia Daniel, Noble Hughes, and Patty Lau.