(Press Release) 41-year-old Elgeron Graves of Fresno, plead guilty Monday to conspiring to grow marijuana with the intent to distribute.
According to court documents, Graves and his brother grew marijuana on property he leased in Fresno County for a long-term interstate marijuana-trafficking conspiracy. The Graves brothers recruited people to obtain California medical recommendations from a local physician for the purpose of growing marijuana, which was in fact being shipped to Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The Graves brothers also allegedly used a now defunct marijuana dispensary in Fresno as a front business for the interstate shipment of marijuana.
Graves is scheduled to be sentenced on October 1, 2012 by Chief U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii. He faces a statutory mandatory minimum prison term of five years and a maximum prison term of 40 years, along with a fine of up to $5 million. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Charges are pending against 41-year-old Joseph Edwin Gable, aka Mike Jones; 52-year-old Vincent Graves; 45-year-old Herman Graves; 43-year-old Damone Kelley; 45-year-old Catatea James; all of Fresno, and 27-year-old Kevin Eugene Spencer Jr. of Roseville. The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is the product of an investigation by the DEA and IRS Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA), U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Birmingham, Ala., the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, the Fresno Police Department, and the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement Team (MADNET). Assistant United States Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.