KELSEYVILLE – What do you do if you were convicted of cultivating marijuana and are serving probation, but still want to grow and sell pot? Perhaps you do some research and find that a lot of people are into drug manufacturing, using and selling 500 miles north in rural Lake County. And if you feel you need to protect yourself, what is better than ninja style throwing stars? That is the strategy 42-year-old James Michael Celozzi apparently used, but it backfired on him in the end, thanks to a tip and the efforts of the Lake Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force, who have made it their goal to eradicate narcotics use and sales from the county.
According to Steve Brooks of the Lake Sheriff’s office, the detectives had received an anonymous tip that marijuana was being grown in a house on Meadow Wood Drive in Kelseyville, a small community on the south west shore of Clear Lake. The resident of the targeted home, Celozzi, was identified as being on felony probation out of Los Angeles. On Wednesday, January 8 at 10:15 am, detectives arrived at the home to find Celozzi on his driveway. He readily admitted to growing marijuana inside the house. The detectives conducted their thorough search, and found a veritable indoor farm. Celozzi had made efficient use of the three bedroom home, filling two of the bedrooms, a bathroom and two closets with a total of 340 marijuana plants at various growth stages. He had extensively remodeled the rooms with lighting, ventilation, insulation and irrigation systems. Additionally there was four pounds of processed pot, digital scales, packaging materials, some un-specified ammunition, and $7,000 in cash. They also found throwing stars, which may look cool to have, but they are considered an illegal lethal weapon.
Celozzi verified his status as a probationer from L.A., and told the story of how he made a monthly drive down south to meet up with his probation officer to show how he was faithfully adhering to the terms of his sentence. However, he had never shared that he had in fact moved up to Lake County, and all the rest about growing, processing, selling and using all that marijuana. (His terms even forbade his use of medical marijuana.)
The Lake County detectives arrested him for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales, being a felon in possession of ammunition, and of course, possession of the throwing stars. The money was seized pending asset forfeiture proceedings as profit from illegal activities. He was booked into the Lake County Hill Road correctional facility. Anyone who wishes to contribute to eradicating drugs in Lake County is encouraged to call in information to the anonymous tip line at 707-263-3663.