The case began approximately three weeks prior when an anonymous tip was received through the Sheriff's new TipNow program.
"Information was provided about a possible marijuana grow site and firearms in the area." stated STEP Sgt. Jim Franks.
Detectives conducted an aerial over flight to confirm the presence of a two marijuana grow sites and obtained a search warrant for the property. The two grow sites were located on the back portion of the property which consisted of 19 acres.
On June 8, 2011 at approximately 1350 hrs, members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Dept. S.T.E.P. Unit, I.N.E.T. Unit, Narcotics Task Force and Property Detectives responded to the 18800 block of Lort Dr. in Visalia in regards to reports of marijuana cultivation. Upon arrival detectives contacted the subjects listed below. Subsequent investigation led to the determination that those subjects with medical recommendations for the marijuana were significantly over their allowed amount. Approximately 690 marijuana plants were eradicated. In addition many items of stolen property were recovered by Property Detectives.
Suspect Chad Cloyd was found to be a felon in possession of firearms and in possession of stolen property. Suspect John Moore was found to be in possession of a switch blade, possession of prescription medication without a prescription and in possession of stolen property from a recent burglary in the city of Visalia. Suspect Brandin Bullock was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and under the influence of a controlled substance. Suspect Kari Ramos-Kent was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and under the influence of a controlled substance. Joseph Wheemes was found to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
Suspects were arrested and booked without incident at the Tulare County Main Jail. Suspect Bullock was advised she was in violation of the Tulare County Ordinance banning outdoor growing of marijuana.
It has become common for some medical marijuana cultivators to hide behind California’s written law in their effort to sell excess marijuana for a profit either on the streets or to dispensaries. County ordinance ban the sale of medicinal marijuana for profit and outdoor unsecured cultivation. If allowed to mature the 690 plants eradicated in this case could have produced in excess of 690 pounds of marijuana bud with a street value in excess of $2,760,000. The typical medicinal marijuana user consumes between 3 to 5 pounds of marijuana annually.
Brandin Bullock 29 yoa, Visalia - Charges 11377 H&S, 11550 H&S, 11366 H&S, 11370.1 H&S
John Wesley Moore 29 yoa Visalia - 496 PC, 11350 H&S, 653 K PC
Chad Cloyd 35 yoa Visalia - 496 PC, 12021 PC, 11550 H&S
Joseph Wheemes 25 yoa Visalia - 11550 H&S
Kari Ramos-Kent, 35 yoa Visalia - 11377 H&S, 11364 H&S 11550 H&S
The Sheriff's Office would like to encourage people to utilize the TipNow system.
"The information we received from TipNow led to the arrest of five people. That is all thanks to the concerned citizen who made use the resources provided that can help make our county a safer place." stated Sheriff Bill Wittman.
TipNow is an anonymous tip line where a person may call, text or e-mail information to the Sheriff's Department regarding suspicious activity. You may e-mail tcso#tipnow.com or call/text 559-725-4194
This case is still under investigation by the TCSO STEP and Property Crimes Unit.
Editors note: Some video footage is availabe under this case number on our YouTube Channel TulareCountySHeriff http://youtu.be/--uNnQeVBrM . You may also send e-mail request to email@example.com. You will receive a reply e-mail with the link to sign in and download the footage.