Pot farmer headed for district court

A 44-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man waived preliminary hearings Thursday in East Fork Justice Court and is expected to enter a plea Feb. 17 to allegations he was illegally cultivating marijuana at his home.

James Gilbert is set to enter an Alford plea to a charge of possession of controlled substance for sale from a 2006 arrest after authorities confiscated marijuana plants with a street value of $400,000 from his home.

An Alford plea means the defendant is not admitting guilt, but believes there is enough evidence to convict him of more serious charges if he goes to trial.

If Gilbert enters the plea, he faces up to four years in prison. Both sides are free to argue at sentencing.

He also must pay $500 restitution for 10 cartons of cigarettes he allegedly took from the Riverview 7-Eleven.

In exchange for the plea, the district attorney's office is prepared to drop several felony charges at sentencing.

Gilbert was set for two preliminary hearings on Friday.

He was accused of taking the cigarettes between Nov. 11-15, 2008, and charged with two counts of burglary and one count of theft.

In the 2006 case, Gilbert was charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gilbert's prior record includes a 1997 arrest in Barstow, Calif., after officers found 1,184 marijuana plants. He served three years in federal prison.


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