Truckee residents face drug charges | SierraSun.com
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Truckee residents face drug charges

Staff Reports

Four Truckee residents were among 14 people recently indicted in Sacramento and San Francisco on charges of alleged possession and intent to distribute the drugs MDMA and LSD in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Reno areas.

Courtney Russell Smith, 27 of Truckee, was indicted Oct. 28 by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California along with eight other subjects on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide] and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy methamphetamine), as well as 26 counts of possession of LSD and MDMA with intent to distribute.

Others named in the Northern District case were Melvin Kurt Kelm, 67, of Big Sur; Phillip Charles Thielen, 51, of San Rafael; Jeremy Thomas Wilkerson, 25, of San Francisco; Mark Douglas Walls, 28, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; Jamie Michael Ward, 27, of San Francisco and Allison Taylor, 24, of Oakland.

Robert S. Mueller III, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California and Paul L. Seave, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, announced the indictments last week.

On Sept. 24, a federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a 17-count sealed indictment charging Smith, Steven Scott Huber, 32, of Truckee; Dan Giovannoni, 24, of Truckee, Josephine Marie Franey, 24, of Truckee, Allston Frederick Taylor, 24, of Oakland and Jason Mathew Abney, 23, of Verdi, Nev., with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute LSD and MDMA, possession of LSD and MDMA with intent to distribute, and use of a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking offenses.

The indictment also charges Tiffany Noelani Schwartman, 20, of Reno, Nev., with one count of possession with intent to distribute LSD.

According to Barbara Brennan Silano, who is prosecuting the case in San Francisco, the indictment in the Northern District of California charges that the named defendants agreed to distribute LSD and MDMA between Feb. 19, 1998 and Oct. 28, 1999, and engaged in various distributions of LSD and MDMA between Nov. 8, 1998 and Aug. 22, 1999.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary L. Grad, who is prosecuting the case in Sacramento, the indictment in the Eastern District of California alleges that from March 1998 through January 1999, the defendants named in the Sacramento indictment conspired with one another to obtain LSD and MDMA from the Bay Area for distribution in Truckee, California and Reno, among other places.

The case was initiated by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Reno in March 1998.

DEA was assisted in the large scale investigation by the Reno Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada Division of Investigation.

Federal and local law enforcement agents uncovered LSD and MDMA distributors operating in the Lake Tahoe and Reno area, authorities said.

Further investigation identified LSD and MDMA sources of supply located in the San Francisco area.

Over the past year, DEA agents in San Francisco working in connection with agents from the U.S. Postal Service identified alleged higher level members of the drug trafficking network who resided in the Bay Area.


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