Crime - Sacto 911

Nevada City woman pleads guilty to marijuana cultivation

A Nevada City woman accused of conducting marijuana growing operations in Nevada and El Dorado counties entered a guilty plea Monday, the first day of her federal trial in Sacramento.

Patricia Jane Albright, 64, pleaded guilty to conspiring to manufacture marijuana, manufacturing marijuana and structuring currency transactions to evade federal reporting requirements, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

In September, Albright’s son and co-conspirator, Jordan Wirtz, pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges. In February, U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley sentenced Writz to five years in prison.

According to court documents, between 2008 and September 2010, Albright and others worked together to manufacture marijuana on two properties she owned near Nevada City and Georgetown. Marijuana from Albright’s operation was regularly shipped out of state under fake names and addresses.

At the time of Albright’s arrest, investigators found marijuana plants, cash, processed marijuana and two firearms.

When Albright purchased the property near Georgetown in 2008 for growing marijuana, she structured 21 cash transactions at six different financial institutions over three days so she could avoid federal reporting requirements related to cash deposits, authorities said.

She is to be sentenced by Judge Nunley on Dec. 3.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the federal Drug Enforcement Administration; the California Department of Justice; and the Nevada, Placer and El Dorado county sheriff’s departments.

During the investigation, which involved the execution of 16 search warrants in the three counties, law enforcement agents seized more than 4,100 marijuana plants, more than 200 pounds of processed marijuana and numerous firearms. A number of the defendants were armed at the time of their arrest, and several had prior felony convictions for narcotics offenses, authorities said. One defendant, they said, was arrested in a marijuana grow with a firearm while on pretrial release from an earlier arrest, and was facing charges for manufacturing marijuana in Southern California in 2009.

Documents and items found at a number of the locations searched show hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial transactions, and the interstate shipment of cash and narcotics, according to federal authorities.