A Northern California drug and gang task force busted an alleged multi-state marijuana growing and distribution operation this week, authorities said.
NET-5 Capt. Ron Nelson said law enforcement served a search warrant Tuesday at a house in the 500 block of Star Court in Wheatland and found 80 pounds of marijuana, packaged in 1-pound bags. Two U.S. Postal Service priority shipping boxes sat by the door, packed with marijuana and addressed to a destination in Texas, he said.
Wheatland police arrested Christopher C. Wolf, 44, on suspicion of selling marijuana. Nelson said Wolf’s garage, where the task force believes he processed orders, was filled with hundreds of priority shipping boxes.
During the investigation, NET-5 found Wolf had an alleged partner in Browns Valley. Task force officers arrived at a home in the 11000 block of Mourning Dove and served a search warrant on Mark G. Thelen, 57, Nelson said. They seized 3,111 plants and arrested Thelen on suspicion of offering to make a controlled substance, possessing marijuana for sale, planting marijuana and criminal conspiracy.
“He had a pretty extensive greenhouse and garden at his house and there was marijuana hanging and drying in his closets,” Nelson said.
The drug task force also found a honey (hash) oil lab, Nelson said.
“That’s actually a bigger charge when you have a lab, because you’re extracting drugs through a chemical process,” he said. “Mostly what was at his place were the plants.”
Nelson said the investigation involved contacting authorities in Texas and Florida, where packages were then intercepted after shipping from Yuba County.
The package confirming the connection to Texas held 45 pounds of marijuana, he said.
“We don’t always do that, but sometimes we choose to let a delivery go through to determine where it’s going,” Nelson said. “I don’t know what marijuana goes for in Texas, but it is significantly more than here, just because of the legality of it in Texas.”
A majority of packages allegedly sent by Wolf weighed between 4-12 pounds, he said.
“I would say they were at least a mid-sized operation,” Nelson said.
Both Wolf and Thelen were booked into Yuba County Jail but were no longer in custody as of Thursday evening.
A third suspect, a U.S. Air Force-enlisted woman with whom Wolf is familiar, was arrested by the Beale Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations, Nelson said.
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