Marijuana salesman gets probation

A 51-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos man was granted five years probation Tuesday on two drug sales charges even though he had numerous violations while out of custody awaiting sentencing.

District Judge Dave Gamble told Russell Tillack he faces eight years in prison if he violates terms of his probation that include successful completion of Western Regional Drug Court and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

"I don't want you to think if you come back here for drugs, I'm not going to send you to prison," Gamble said. "You decide how important your self-righteousness about marijuana is."

Tillack pleaded guilty to two counts of sales of a controlled substance. He admitted selling 120 grams of marijuana in an undercover sting.

While awaiting sentencing, Tillack tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine and changed his residence without notifying his probation officer.

He claimed the marijuana stayed in his system because he'd been using the drug for 35 years. He told officers who arrested him July 3 in Reno that a spiteful ex-girlfriend put methamphetamine in a drink and that he did not take it willingly.

Tillack admitted moving from Lyon County to a Reno recreational vehicle park without notification because he couldn't afford to live anyplace else.

Gamble took issue with a letter Tillack wrote to the judge.

"You seek to overturn the laws of the United States by telling me - it's the 1,000th time I've heard it - that marijuana is good for you. Every single time you smoked marijuana, bought marijuana, sold it or gave it away, you committed a crime. You say you are a law-abiding citizen. You are a law-breaker," Gamble said.

Tillack said he was ready to quit and wanted to be admitted for drug treatment.

"I want to change my life," he said. "I want to get some help, some counseling."

Tillack asked for leniency, noting it was the first time he had been convicted for drug use.

Prosecutor Laurie Trotter asked that Tillack be sent to prison.

She said he violated terms of his release, lied about his financial situation to obtain a court-appointed lawyer, and threatened a confidential informant.

She said Tillack had two other drug cases involving sales, use, and being under the influence that weren't charged.

"He had a complete disregard of bail conditions," she said.

Gamble ordered Tillack to pay $1,000 attorney's fees and perform 80 hours of community service.

He released him from Douglas County Jail on Tuesday and ordered Tillack to report July 20 to drug court.

"There needs to be a subordination of yourself to people in authority," Gamble said. "You've put yourself in this position because of your actions. This is the speech I give 15-year-olds. When you break the law, you give people authority over you."


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