Elgeron Graves, 42, the owner of California Patient Network, a now defunct marijuana storefront in Fresno, was sentenced today to one year in prison for conspiring to cultivate, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
At sentencing, Graves sought home detention, claiming that he believed that he was acting in compliance with California law. However, the government indicated that the marijuana Graves grew on agricultural land in Fresno County was shipped to Alabama. In addition, evidence linked Graves to another marijuana grow site in Raymond, Calif. In Raymond, sheriff’s deputies found a loaded Glock firearm with laser sights that was registered to Elgeron Graves. They also found a purported medicinal marijuana recommendation in Graves’s name.
In sentencing, Judge Ishii found that the offense was a “serious” one and advised that under federal law, marijuana is illegal and does not have any medical use.
Elgeron Graves is the first of the seven defendants to be sentenced in this case. Kevin Eugene Spencer Jr., 27, of Roseville, pleaded guilty on September 4, 2012. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2013.
Charges are pending against Joseph Edwin Gable, aka Mike Jones, 41; Vincent Graves, 52; Herman Graves, 45; Damone Kelley, 43; Catatea James, 45; all of Fresno. Their next court hearing is set for November 13, 2012. The allegations in the indictment are mere accusations and all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is the product of an investigation by the DEA and IRS Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA), U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Birmingham, Ala., the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, the Fresno Police Department, and the Madera County Narcotics Enforcement Team (MADNET). Assistant United States Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Grant B. Rabenn are prosecuting the case.