So-called California medical pot shipped again to Walworth County

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Darryl Enriquez
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
— An East Troy man accused of obtaining high-quality marijuana from his brother in California was busted recently after a local drug unit officer posed as a United Parcel Service worker to deliver a bogus drug package, officials say.

Authorities later executed a search warrant at the home of Paul S. Neves, 2742 Frontage Road, and reported finding three bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the warrant return filed in Walworth County Court.

The raid was based on information from California authorities who intercepted a package containing three pounds of pot headed to Neves, according to the warrant.

His brother, Steven E. Neves, 58, was arrested by California authorities and charged on drug-related counts. Steve Neves told California authorities he was growing marijuana for medical purposes.

The case is at least the second this year involving allegations of California pot produced under medical marijuana laws being shipped to Walworth County.

In January, four Elkhorn Area High School students were charged with conspiring to sell marijuana after receiving pot shipments from a grower in Escondido, Calif., according to prosecutors. The grower claimed he had a medical marijuana card.

Their cases are pending.

The Paul Neves pot supply originated from Sonoma, Calif., a region generally known for its wine vineyards, according to the warrant.

According to the warrant:

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office alerted East Troy police of the shipments April 20 after being contacted by a shipping firm. Company officials had received an anonymous tip that packages containing pot were shipped from their office.

The company owner checked a suspected package and found two pounds of marijuana inside.

The pot was confiscated by the California authorities and replaced with package filling. The package was then sent to its original destination—the home of Paul Neves.

East Troy police April 26 spoke with a security supervisor at UPS. They learned six packages had been shipped from California to East Troy since Jan. 10.

Neves’ cream-colored ranch home was raided April 25.

Police and prosecutors would not say if or when charges might be filed against Neves. After the raid, Neves was not taken to Walworth County Jail, according to jail records.

Tuolumne County authorities said Steven E. Neves had one of the largest marijuana growing operations in recent history, according to an article in the Union Democrat in Sonora, Calif.

Authorities in California reported finding 72 marijuana plants, 10 pounds of processed pot and $46,135 in cash. The high-grade marijuana had a wholesale value of $3,200 per pound, according to the article. The perimeter of Steven E. Neves’ house was outfitted with cameras and sensors. Loaded weapons were found at strategic locations around the property so he could defend his crop, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.

He is charged in California with illegally possessing pot for sale, unlawfully cultivating and transporting pot and possessing concentrated cannabis, according to a criminal complaint filed in Tuolumne County Superior Court of California.

Steven E. Neves had been hiding behind the guise of medical marijuana, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said.

Last updated: 5:12 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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