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U.S. Attorney’s Office distributes seized proceeds to EDSO, DA

By From page A7 | February 28, 2014

The U.S. Attorney’s Office distributed $263,500 to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office from seized narcotics proceeds.

The two agencies participated in an investigation of an interstate marijuana-trafficking ring that led to federal prosecution, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced in a press release. The final payment was delivered in January, with EDSO receiving a total of $230,600 and the DA’s Office receiving $32,900.

Robert Edward Mulready, 50, of Placerville, and Duane Patrick Petersen, 40, of Shingle Springs, were convicted in U.S. District Court of conspiring to cultivate marijuana and distribute it out-of-state. The seized proceeds are from cash, bank accounts and a house on 10 acres of land in Placerville.

The money was distributed through the U.S. Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program, with the amount shared based on the degree of each agency’s participation in the investigation. The sharing of proceeds encourages cooperation between local, state and federal agencies.

“I particularly want to thank the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for their outstanding cooperation and investigative work,” Wagner said. “Asset forfeiture is a powerful tool that deprives criminals of the proceeds of their illegal activities; the equitable sharing program equips law enforcement to better protect their communities.”

Sheriff John D’Agostini said, “We are grateful for the investigation and prosecution efforts by the United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and his staff.  The arrest, prosecution and asset forfeiture of proceeds from this criminal operation should send a strong message that federal and local law enforcement will not allow such operations to continue.”

“This case is a prime example of county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies working together to make El Dorado County a safer place to live,” added District Attorney Vern Pierson.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Western El Dorado County Narcotics Enforcement Team (WENET). The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd A. Pickles and the forfeiture handled by AUSA Kevin C. Khasigian.

Cole Mayer

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