Nice, California is a community in Lake County that hugs the north shore of Clear Lake. At under two square miles with fewer than 3,000 residents, it is truly a small town with its share of charming homes, shops and restaurants. Pronounced like “niece”, it was named after the town of Nice in France, which is located in the south along the French Riviera on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. However, amid the tranquil setting, there are those who are living in the culture of drugs, and are targeted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force, who are trying to eradicate illegal narcotics from the community.
One such person was 33-year-old Fred Ralph Pearl. Last Wednesday afternoon, at about 2:00 pm, detectives served a search warrant at his residence on Pyle Road. According to Steve Brooks of the Sheriff’s Department, Pearl was home, and taken into custody without incident as a result of what detectives found in the home.
Upon entering the home, the detectives immediately found a marijuana packaging operation set up, with several one pound bags of pot, digital scales, a lot of untrimmed marijuana and several pairs of trimming scissors, along with packing materials. They also found a well-used glass methamphetamine pipe, caked with white residue, and a black pouch containing 3 bags of crystal meth. Not far away, but under a chair, another black pouch was found, filled with $2700 in cash and more meth.
Further searching the room, detectives found a large gun safe, open and with a Glock 9mm pistol, which was later identified as stolen from a Lake County resident just a month ago. In a corner stood a 12 gauge shotgun and a lever action .22 rifle, which was also found to be a stolen weapon, this time from a burglary in Menocino County. There was also plenty of ammunition marked with Pearl’s name.
Not through finding interesting items, detectives also turned up a bottle of liquid Ketamine, an anesthetic can produce hallucinations and other psychotropic effects, and has been classified as a controlled substance as a drug with potential for abuse. A bottle of Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, was also handy. Topping it off was a glass baking dish full of honey oil, a high powered cannabis product made from shooting butane gas through dried marijuana to extract oil, which can be smoked, inhaled, or otherwise ingested.
Further exploring, detectives found another gun safe in the back, open and with several bags for processed marijuana, and a loaded .38 revolver. Also inside was a vintage 1911 .45 caliber revolver. And next to the safe, a cardboard style packing barrel, packed with more untrimmed marijuana ready for processing.
Perhaps with an ironic sense of humor, the detectives asked Pearl if he had a medical marijuana recommendation from his doctor, knowing full well the amount found was beyond and legal limit for certified medical use. Pearl didn’t play along, and told them he did not. Perhaps getting into the spirit, he did, however, claim that he had no knowledge of the many weapons that were found. He did fess up to growing some of the marijuana and buying the rest.
The total haul was six firearms, 60.8 pounds of untrimmed marijuana, 21.8 pounds of processed marijuana, 5.1 grams of methamphetamine, one ounce of honey oil, one bottle each of Ketamine and Epinephrine, and $2700 in cash, which will be subject to asset forfeiture proceedings. Pearl was taken to the Lake County Hill Road Correctional facility to be booked for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale, possession of controlled substances, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, receiving stolen property, and manufacturing of a controlled substance.
Lake County Sheriff’s encourage anyone with knowledge of any similar set-ups in the county to call the anonymous tip line at 707-263-3663.
Lake County News: Detectives arrest Northshore man, seize drugs and stolen firearms