Colo. man charged in Calif. marijuana conspiracy

A Colorado man appeared in federal court in Fresno Thursday to face charges contained in an indictment of cultivating and distributing marijuana , United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between June 1, 2009, and March 9, 2010, 52-year-old Mark Jeff Zeldes was responsible for a large-scale marijuana cultivation and distribution operation with multiple indoor grow locations in Bakersfield, Newbury Park and Northridge, Calif.

Wagner says after Zeldes was questioned by law enforcement agents in California, he relocated to Colorado where he continued to engage in marijuana cultivation and interstate distribution activities.

Following his arrest on April 8, Zeldes was brought before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Denver, who ordered him detained as a flight risk and danger to the community, says Wagner. Zeldes remains in custody and is next scheduled to appear in court in Fresno for a status conference on June 23.

Wagner says if Zeldes is convicted, he faces a statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. 

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