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Elk Grove Electrician Pleads Guilty to Pot Growing Scheme

Kelly Smith faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.

A 53-year-old electrician from Elk Grove pleaded guilty to being part of a 2011 marijuana-growing operation, authorities announced Friday.

Kelly Smith helped to set up a grow house on Lazulite Court in Elk Grove and at a warehouse on Florin Perkins Road in Sacramento, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner's office said in a press release.

In February 2011, 317 pot plants were seized from the Lazulite Court house, and 401 plants were seized from the warehouse in June of that year, the press release said.

San Diego resident Robert Klaus, 35, provided "cloned starter plants" for the Elk Grove grow house, according to the press release.

Galt resident Bruce Goldsmith, 61, pleaded guilty to growing marijuana at his home, according to the press release. He allegedly said the pot was bound for R&R Wellness, a medical marijuana store in south Sacramento that has since closed.

Klaus and Smith each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison; Goldsmith faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. They're scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 16.

"This case is the product of an investigation by the Elk Grove Police Department with the assistance of the Sacramento HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force," the press release said.

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Jane Gassner September 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Here's an idea: if we didn't hand out such extreme sentences for American entrepreneurs creating grow houses, two things might happen: 1. our prisons might not be such a budgetary disaster, and 2. it might cut into the flow of drugs coming up from the Mexican cartels.
John September 02, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Jane, Thats an easy statement to make and not easy to accomplish. I would hope that until such a day that these sorts of crimes are made legal that people know the risk and accept the responsibility for what they have done. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time". I;m curious though, where would you draw the line? Heroin, Cocaine, or just weed?
Bwood September 02, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Pot growers are now America's new "entrepreneurs?" My head is spinning ...
skylar September 02, 2012 at 10:20 PM
what are you guys talking about?
Jane Gassner September 02, 2012 at 10:33 PM
John, I draw the line at weed. Of course, my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote that comment.
Bob B September 03, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Wow, I wonder what sentence they would have gotten if someone had been killed because of their operation? Whatever happened to the Constitutional prohibition of imposing 'cruel and unusual punishment' (ie sentences that are not comensurate with the 'crime')?
ACLU February 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Documents state Klaus had been to the home once 6mo before the raid. Anybody who knows the basics of growing medical MJ understand that any initial plants he may have provided were done and harvested months earlier. How can one go to trial and argue their case when facing 40 years if they get a poor jury. Feds have 95% conviction rate for a reason. Stiff mandatory minimums give them the leverage. Guilty it not.

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