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Grow Busters Arrest Pair Allegedly Tied To $6.9 Million In Illegal Marijuana

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San Andreas, CA – Calaveras grow busters this week eradicated illegal marijuana from a vineyard property targeted six weeks ago along with a second property tied to the same person.

According to Calaveras County Sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Greg Starke, 75-year-old Randall Jay Nathan of Sheep Ranch, arrested Thursday at the latter property, located in the 13900 block of Fricot City Road, received a $200,000 bond and was still in custody Friday. His wife, 72-year-old Sidney Ann Weinstein, who was arrested with him and assigned a $100,000 bond, bailed out.

Stark shares that the sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team (MET) visited Star Canyon Vineyard, located in the 300 block of Star Canyon Trail, confiscating from the outdoor grow 1,300 plants and 3.6 pounds of processed marijuana. He adds that on June 25, the MET destroyed approximately 3,200 plants at the same site. That roughly translates to about $1.3 million in street value pot from the first and $3.2 million from the second eradication.

“To start operations again after having a pending case is pretty brazen,” Stark acknowledges. “It shows a complete disregard for the court process…as big as the plants are, it does not look like he did not waste much time to start growing again.“

He described the growing areas as in, near and around the grapevines. “There was some literally in the vineyard and some terraced on the hill that stood out like neon lights.”

On the Fricot City Road grow site, which Starke also describes as an outdoor operation, besides arresting Nathan and Weinstein, the MET seized 2,408 plants, 2.9 pounds of processed marijuana, 8 grams of concentrated marijuana and three guns. The rough value of the haul, $2.4 million, combined with that of the other two seizures, comes to around $6.9 million.

Current variables used to estimate approximate street value are between $1,300 and $2,000 per plant and half-pound of pot when from an indoor grow; between $1,000 and $1,500 for plants and pot per pound yielding from greenhouses; and between $700 and $1,000 for plants and processed pot per pound from outdoor operations.

Among the charges the couple is now facing are possessing marijuana for sale; keeping a drug house; renting the property for the purposes of manufacturing a controlled substance; conspiracy to commit a crime; maintaining an illegal grow.