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A Los Angeles lawyer has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for his involvement in large-scale marijuana cultivation operations in Sacramento and Sutter counties.
Nathan Hoffman, 57, was sentenced Tuesday in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez for conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.
As part of his plea agreement, Hoffman agreed to forfeit his license to practice law in California and was ordered to surrender to U.S. Marshals in Los Angeles by Dec. 7 to begin serving his sentence, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.
Hoffman was accused of conspiring with Yan Ebyam and others to develop two industrial-sized marijuana cultivation sites in Sacramento and Sutter counties. As part of the plea agreement, Hoffman admitted that he and his co-conspirators sought to profit from the illegal distribution of large amounts of marijuana, the news release said.
Much of the marijuana grown in Northern California as part of this conspiracy was distributed by Hung C. Nguyen, who pleaded guilty in January. Nguyen operated two Southern California marijuana stores, the Cana Clinic of Garden Grove and the South Bay Cana Clinic in Torrance, according to the news release.
The cases began when federal and state agents executed seven federal search warrants in Sacramento, Sutter and Tehama counties on June 21, 2011. Two of the warrants were executed at the sites of large commercial greenhouses. One was at the Jopson Ranch in the Sutter County community of Rio Oso, and the other at the Cal-Nevada Wholesale Florist in Sacramento. Law enforcement officers seized more than 5,000 marijuana plants in all stages of growth from these two locations, the news release said. Approximately 2,168 plants were seized at Jopson Ranch and about 3,305 plants at the Cal-Nevada nursery.
Two leaders arrested at the grow sites, Aimee Sisco and Ebyam, admitted their involvement in the marijuana cultivation business, and subsequent investigation and search warrants uncovered the link to Hoffman, Nguyen and others, according to the news release.
Nguyen is to be sentenced Nov. 7.
Ebyam pleaded guilty in July 2014 and was sentenced by Mendez to 72 months in prison. Sisco pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture marijuana and was sentenced in 2015 to three years in prison.
Two remaining co-defendants, Steve Marcus and Brook Murphy, also pleaded guilty and are to be sentenced Nov. 28.
The cases are part of a federal investigation into industrial-scale marijuana cultivation conspiracies operating with the Eastern District of California. A total of 16 defendants were charged in three separate indictments for crimes related to marijuana cultivation. All have now pleaded guilty to their participation in the conspiracies, the news release said.