Douglas County deputies seize pot plants worth $400,000 |

Douglas County deputies seize pot plants worth $400,000

by Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal News Service Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini and Undersheriff Paul Howell with some of the marijuana plants found at a house on Kathy Way Thursday. Below, an officer holds up one of the plants.

GARDNERVILLE – A Ranchos couple was arrested early Thursday after investigators seized marijuana plants with a street value of more than $400,000.

Deputies were at the house in the 1400 block of Kathy Way on Monday looking for fugitive Tonya Solak in another matter and could smell marijuana, according to Sgt. Tom Mezzetta.

“The Street Enforcement Team conducted an investigation and obtained a search warrant that they served Thursday morning,” Mezzetta said.

Teresa Jo Ortega, 43, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $5,500, and she bailed out shortly after her arrest.

James Douglas Gilbert, 41, was arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to appear on a Carson City traffic warrant.

His bail was set at $10,749, and he is to appear in East Fork Justice Court this morning.

Mezzetta said Gilbert had an extensive history, including serving time in federal prison for marijuana cultivation and arrests for assault with a deadly weapon and battery.

“This was huge,” said Sheriff Ron Pierini. “We found some growing in the back yard up against a fence and some in the garage. It seemed as if they had trimmed the tops of the plants so you couldn’t see them over the fence.”

Mezzetta said officers found 11 plants including one that was 6 feet high and 20 feet wide.

Officers estimated the yield at 50 pounds.

Law enforcement personnel, including the Special Weapons and Tactics team, showed up at 5 a.m.

“That’s the safest time,” Pierini said. “They hit them first thing and seized all the plants. It went very well.”

There were no other occupants and the suspects offered no resistance.

Pierini said while the plant beds were meticulous, the condition of the house was in disrepair.

“The house was very, very poorly kept which had prompted complaints from some of the residents,” he said.

Officers allegedly seized $7,000 cash, a scale and packaging material.