Bail at $25,000 cash for pot farm suspect

Bail was raised to $25,000 cash Friday for a suspect in the cultivation of 50 pounds of marijuana with a reported street value of $400,000.

Defendant James Douglas Gilbert, 41, objected to the increase and told East Fork Justice Jim EnEarl the allegations against him were "a sham."

"This man is crazy," Gilbert said, referring to prosecutor Mike McCormick.

McCormick had asked EnEarl to raise the bail to $20,000 and EnEarl made it $25,000.

"What am I supposed to do with that?" Gilbert asked. "Don't you think that's a little extreme?"

Gilbert and Teresa Jo Ortega were arrested Thursday in a pre-dawn raid on Ortega's Gardnerville Ranchos home.

Deputies confiscated 11 marijuana plants - some more than 6 feet tall - along with $7,000 cash, scales and plastic bags.

Gilbert claimed he had a medical marijuana permit. According to court documents Gilbert had been cleared for a permit, but a Department of Agriculture official said she was unaware of his criminal past and would turn his application over to the attorney general.

Ortega has a medical marijuana permit, but the amount at her residence was about four times the legal limit.

"I went through the proper channels," Gilbert said. "In my book, I am legal. This gentleman (McCormick) knows by keeping me in jail I won't be able to do the stuff to defend myself."

McCormick referred to Gilbert's extensive criminal record and prior federal conviction for growing marijuana.

"We have a commercial growing facility here," McCormick said. "There were hundreds of pounds of bushes, scales and packaging materials."

McCormick said investigators also found $7,000 in a paper bag.

Gilbert said the money belonged to his girlfriend Ortega who had secured a car loan.

"This guy don't even know," Gilbert said.

"At least I am not an ex-felon like you," McCormick retorted.

EnEarl appointed Derrick Lopez to defend Gilbert. He is to appear in court Wednesday.

Ortega bailed out Thursday. She is scheduled for an Oct. 23 court appearance.

Both were charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale and conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Deputies obtained a search warrant after officers looking for a fugitive stopped at the house earlier last week and could smell the marijuana plants as they approached the front door.


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