Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oakland Tribune on Hedlund/Vilica and yet another LLC

Guilty plea in Berkeley pot operation Man, 31, agrees to forfeit 7,000 acres By Angela Hill, STAFF WRITER 02/05/2008

OAKLAND — Joshua L. Hedlund, 31, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Oakland to using a Berkeley warehouse for a massive illegal marijuana grow and laundering the proceeds from that operation, the U.S. Attorney's office announced.

As part of the plea agreement, Hedlund agreed to forfeit more than $1 million in proceeds from the Berkeley grow and money he received from others for the purchase of properties in Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino and Trinity counties, authorities said.

Hedlund also agreed to forfeit his right to more than 7,000 acres in Humboldt and Trinity counties that he purchased from the Eel River Saw Mill in the name of Vilica LLC.

The guilty plea is the result of a two-year investigation by the Berkeley Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation division.

Hedlund was arrested March 15, 2006, during a raid at a warehouse at 807 and 809 Allston Way in Berkeley, which netted 5,800 marijuana plants, a dozen weapons and $220,000 in cash. Investigators said it was the largest haul of marijuana Berkeley police had made in several years, and led to searches of homes in Oakland, Castro Valley, Antioch and Brentwood.
Berkeley police began investigating the Allston Way grow in early 2006. Surveillance of that location led to the arrest of six other individuals, all of whom have pleaded guilty to charges related to the cultivation of marijuana at the warehouse.

The IRS was called in to investigate the money laundering aspect of the case, said Special Agent Arlette Lee, of the IRS' criminal investigations section.

"Many people don't realize the IRS gets involved whenever there is a situation like this with money laundering," she said. "The Berkeley police and the DEA went after the illegal drugs. But we tracked the money, the proceeds from the sale, where it was coming from and where it was going."

In court Monday, Hedlund admitted he knowingly allowed others to grow marijuana at the warehouse between late spring of 2003 through March 2006. He also admitted to using the proceeds of the marijuana grown to pay his mortgage on the warehouse, authorities said.

In addition to forfeiting the Vilica LLC parcels, Hedlund agreed that law enforcement officials may at any time, without warrants, search more than 5,000 acres Hedlund controls throughout Humboldt and Mendocino counties in the name of Schmook Ranch LLC.

Hedlund is scheduled to be sentenced May 16 in Oakland, and could receive up to 20 years in jail and a fine of up to
$500,000 for using a warehouse to grow marijuana, plus an equal sentence for money laundering
, authorities said.
No mention of Paradise Palms LLC. Nor what was going on on that Eel River SawMill acreage. No mention of Vilica LLC partner and president Steve Schectman... How many of these LLCs are there? Who are the partners in the LLCs? Obviously Hedlund is involved with at least two of them, are there any other crossovers? Were any of the other defendants involved in the LLCs?

Virtually identical article in SF Examiner Feb 5, 2008 8:22 AM (11 hrs ago) News Reports, AP

A comprehensive guide to Cannabis arrests and seizures worldwide A brief history of cannabis arrests and seizures from around the world, from the blatantly obvious to the downright bizarre, including arrests for cultivation, arrests for possession, arrests for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Cannabis arrests brought to you on a daily basis, occasionally with a hint of humour.


  1. The AP picks it up, it is a national story, the local connections mean our local reporters have a chance to do a real in depth piece/investigation. Hank is probably the only one who can do this story justice. What say you, Hank?

  2. Rose,

    You need to pen a my word column. The only problem is that they will want your full identity. Are you willing to do that?

    I hope you will.

  3. Of course, 10:49. I have done it before.

    Gallegos has been pampering Stoen, and others over the last few years. One won me a trashing by Salzman.

    Or this - TS - Let the games begin

  4. The challenge will be keeping it to 750 words. Maybe they'll let me do a series.

  5. Here's another LLC - according to the Alameda County Records, 809 Allston way was sold in 2003 to the Allston LLC (Josh Hedlund). The succesors to the trust are listed as KITE FINDS THE FEATHER AND AMANDA WOOD, both of Mendocino,Ca. The mailing address for the trust is listed as 807 Allston way.

    Do I need to connect the dots for you?


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