GOVERNMENT'S EX PARTE MOTION FOR ORDER AUTHORIZING THE
DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE - 28 U.S.C. 1651
Government agents executed search warrants several residences in Placer, El Dorado, and Sacramento Counties between August of 2007 and October of 2008. Agents found in at least six residences sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operations. Each of the residences was set-up in a manner to avoid the detection of neighbors and law enforcement. The residences had the electrical meter by-passed, and rooms in the residences had been retro-fitted to with lights, ballasts, timers, fans, and filters commonly utilized to cultivate marijuana. Window and basement vents had been sealed off, and watering systems were installed during the marijuana cultivation.
During the execution of search warrants, government agents seized much of the equipment from the marijuana cultivations. Typically the equipment seized included 1,000 watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs, electrical ballasts, fans, filters, and sometimes water reservoirs and pumps. The equipment seized has all been stored in a large storage space, and has all been in the custody of the United States since October 2008.
Five defendants have been charged in this indictment. Four of the defendants have pled guilty. The fifth defendant, Tien The Le, is currently set for trial on February 22, 2012. Tien The Le's attorney, Lindsay Weston, has been provided the opportunity to review all of the evidence prior to its destruction.
The continued storage of the seized equipment is burdensome to the DEA, both in terms of cost and the necessity to maintain the security on the property. Agents photographed and videotaped the equipment during the execution of the search warrants and have maintained copies of the photographs in evidence.
The United States hereby moves for an order authorizing the destruction of all the stored equipment. If any additional defendants are added to this indictment pursuant to a superseding indictment, the defendants will have the photographs and/or video of the marijuana grow houses and the equipment seized from each of the residences. In addition, DEA intends to retain a representative sample of one of each of the pieces of equipment (e.g. one light bulb and light hood, one ballast, one electrical panel, one fan, one filter, etc.) from each location searched.
Furthermore, all defense counsel in the case have been notified of the government's intention to destroy the evidence discussed above and none have any objection.
WHEREFORE, the United States requests pursuant to the All Writs Act, Title 28, United States Code, Section 1651, that this Court issue an order authorizing the destruction of the seized equipment, as set forth above.
Dated: January 5, 2012 BENJAMIN B. WAGNER United States Attorney By: /s/ Heiko P. Coppola HEIKO P. COPPOLA Assistant U.S. Attorney
IT IS SO ORDERED. The United States is authorized to destroy the physical evidence seized in the above captioned case, subject to the requirement to keep photographs of all the equipment which is destroyed, and to keep one sample of each item of equipment per grow location.
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