UPPER LAKE, LAKE COUNTY – Two men living along the northern shore of Clear Lake seem to have had quite a thriving business going on until the long arm of the law got wind of their activities.
Last Tuesday, April 15, Lake County Sheriff’s narcotics detectives were serving a search warrant at a home along rural Highway 20 in Upper Lake. According to Steve Brooks of the Sheriff’s Department, they arrived at the home at 2:20 in the afternoon, where they found resident Connor William Rieves, 22, and 28-year-old Ob Klyd Lowrie of nearby Nice. Both were detained as detectives served the warrant and searched the property.
The inspection of the property revealed two greenhouses, including a “large hoop” style greenhouse, which looks something like a quonset hut. Each greenhouse contained over 50 marijuana plants. Lowrie shared with the detectives that the plants belonged to him and Rieves. He said that last year, the same crops yielded about 70 pounds of processed marijuana, and that they sold the crop to a cannabis club in the San Francisco Bay area for $2,000.00 a pound. The detective further inquired into the success of the business, and asked how much money they had made last year. Lowrie didn’t have a straight answer on that one.
Rieves said that his brother worked at a marijuana store, and that he had just sold a pound of processed pot to them for $900.00. He first shared that last year, he had made $10,000 and was given a vehicle for his part in the business. Perhaps pressed for the validity of that statement, given the amount of marijuana they had supposedly produced, he upped his story to $20,000 and a place to live, presumably the very place they were searching.
The issue of how much they are making is an important one. California marijuana laws state that medical use is allowed, and possession by a person or caregiver who is authorized is not a criminal offense. Marijuana can be provided to them by “collectives” or clubs, but they must be strictly non-profit operations. But it still remains illegal to sell marijuana for a profit in California, whether prescribed medically or not.
The detectives seized the 103 plants from the two greenhouses, and 38.3 pounds of processed marijuana in the home’s living room. They also requested and obtained a warrant to search Lowrie’s place of residence in Nice, on Lakeview Drive. After arresting the two, they headed down the road to Nice, about 2 miles away and closer to the lake. Though not as spread out as the Upper Lake property, there are a couple of garden sheds, one of which contained 52 marijuana plants, and the other 23. Those were “eradicated” and a search of the house continued. There was a gun safe they were able to open, which contained $30,697.00 in cash. In one of the bedrooms they located a .38 caliber handgun and two bags of hashish – concentrated cannabis. There was a toolbox containing a scale and pacing materials, and four rifles in the other bedroom.
Lowrie’s brother Klynt was in the area when the detectives served the warrant at the Lakeview drive location, and created a video of the incident, which he posted in his Facebook page. It shows 3 undercover detectives outside the house when he confronts them about doing an illegal search. In the recorded exchange, they did at some point state that they had a warrant, and asked if he had been drinking. Another friend commented on the Facebook posting that the detectives were there at the house when he came home, and Klynt commented that the search lasted until 10 pm.
The weapons were all confiscated and the cash was seized pending asset forfeiture proceedings if it is proven to be profts from illegal narcotics sales. Rieves and Lowrie were booked in the Hill Road Correctional Facility, charged with possession of marijuana/hashish for sale, cultivation of marijuana/hashish, and conspiracy to commit a crime (since they were working together.) Lowrie faces the additional charge of committing a felony while armed. Both men posted bail, and are scheduled to appear in court on May 28.