First his house got shot up in a drive-by. Then the cops found his little indoor gardening project. Now he’s going to jail.
On Wednesday, a 21-year-old Yakima man named Cesar Alberto Garcia was sentenced in Yakima County Superior Court to nine months for maintaining an indoor marijuana grow.
Garcia found himself in hot water on July 8, 2011, after reports of a drive-by shooting at his residence in the 1800 block of South Ninth Avenue drew the attention of police.
Officers noted the house had been struck by two rounds. They also noted the “obvious” odor of marijuana emanating from the home.
Upon obtaining a search warrant, officers reported the discovery of 93 marijuana plants inside the residence along with a substantial chunk of cocaine — 56.87 grams.
According to court records, Garcia’s nine-month sentence for his guilty plea to a manufacturing charge was above the standard range of 0-6 months for a first-time offender.
In addition to the jail time, he was also fined $1,000 and placed on one year of probation. An additional cocaine charge was dismissed.
The case was similar to another case on Wednesday in which a 22-year-old Zillah man named Daniel Zuniga Jr. got four months for maintaining an indoor grow.
In that case, the defendant was arrested at his home on Orchardvale Road after officers tracked a burglary suspect to the residence.
Inside, officers reported the discovery of 48 marijuana plants and 1.7 pounds of processed pot, plus a stolen gun and three other firearms.
Washington state’s new recreational-use marijuana law, which went into effect two weeks ago, in theory should undercut the black market. The law allows possession of up to 1 ounce for personal use.
Sales remain illegal, however, and the state has until December 2013 to draw up a regulatory scheme that covers the legal distribution of marijuana.
In the meantime, the federal government is on the record as not recognizing the legitimacy of the state law. However, President Barack Obama said recently that federal authorities have “bigger fish to fry” than going after recreational marijuana users in Washington.
• Chris Bristol can be reached at 509-577-7748 or firstname.lastname@example.org.