Thursday, August 30, 2012

LA lawyer indicted in federal pot case - Sacramento Bee

A Los Angeles lawyer was indicted on federal charges Wednesday for allegedly orchestrating a marijuana business that persuaded two Sutter County farmers to convert their greenhouses for heirloom tomatoes into massive grow rooms for pot.

Attorney Nathan Hoffman, 52, who has law offices on Los Angeles' Wilshire Boulevard, was indicted with four other men on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Authorities said Hoffman formed entities "Black Horizon" and "Blue Horizon," which set up major marijuana cultivation operations in Sutter and Sacramento counties.

Hoffman's indictment follows charges last year against brothers Thomas Jopson, 63, and David Jopson, 61, and an Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Yan Ebyam, 35. All have pleaded not guilty.

Officials seized 2,168 marijuana plants at the Jopson family greenhouses after the brothers invited local officers to inspect an operation they said was set up for what they thought was a legal medical marijuana market.

Also indicted Wednesday was Hung C. Nguyen, 35, of Norwalk, whom authorities described as an operator of two Southern California dispensaries.

In a news conference last October, Sacramento U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said Hoffman raked in millions of dollars in a "wide-ranging conspiracy to organize and finance major marijuana grows" for dispensaries.

In a related raid last year, authorities seized 3,305 plants at the Cal-Nevada Wholesale Florist site in Sacramento County.

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Call The Bee's Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.

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