Grandma was involved too, but she’s not arrested
LAKE COUNTY – The Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force had information leading them to an Upper Lake resident and his mother, who lives in Lakeport. According to Steve Brooks of the Sheriff’s department, they acquired search warrants for three properties in Upper Lake as well as the mother’s home in Lakeport. What they found confirmed their suspicions, and let to additional properties and a total of four arrests made.
On the morning of Friday, June 27, detectives from the task force ventured into far northern Upper Lake along Elk Mountain Road, which lies within the Mendocino National Forest. There were three properties of interest along the winding rural road, and they located Justin Zeno Jones, 33, at one of them. He was detained without incident while the detectives conducted the searches. They located and eradicated 122 marijuana plants on those properties. They found evidence of illegal marijuana sales and hundreds of illegal firearms components, such as high capacity assault weapon magazines. It appears the components were purchased out of state and brought into California. They also found a safe containing documents showing that Jones serves as treasurer for the Lake County Green Farmers Association.
The Lake County Green Farmers Association is dedicated to reforming medical marijuana laws. Posted on their website, their mission statement reads “The Association will raise funds to advocate for reasonable governmental regulations, education and environmental issues that protects its members, the community and medical marijuana patients.” They also state “The Green Farmers Association is a non-profit agricultural organization dedicated to uniting, educating, providing support, and protecting its members”. Current county regulations permit growing medical marijuana for yourself if authorized, or growing up to 48 plants on behalf of a medical marijuana collective, and only on a large property. (The association posted this information on its website.)
During the search of the three neighboring properties, detectives also contacted 33-year-old Andrew Timothy Chilton, who was renting one of the places and participated in the cultivation of marijuana with Jones and his mother, 61-year-old Nadine Louise Whitworth. Both Jones and Chilton were arrested at the scene.
Nadine Whitworth was found with her husband, 64-year-old Thomas Michael Whitworth, at the next property, located in the hills north of Lakeport on Eickhoff Road. The Whitworths were detained while a search of their property was conducted simultaneous to the search of the other properties. Detectives reported finding 95 marijuana plants, which they eradicated. They also found 30 pounds of processed marijuana and eleven firearms. $4,500.00 in cash was confiscated, and is being held pending asset forfeiture proceedings, if it is determined to be profit from illegal narcotics sales.
Two more suspicious properties came to light as the investigation continued. Patricia McIvor, who is Nadine Whitworth’s mother and Jones’ grandmother, is the owner of two additional properties near the first three, further down the road on Elk Mountain Road. A search of these properties turned up 48 more marijuana plants, and a .22 caliber firearm.
That led the search onward to McIvor’s residence in Lakeport. This home, on the shore of Clear Lake on Lakeshore Blvd., held what appeared to be Jones’ main arsenal. After another warrant was obtained, detectives located 50 assault weapons, including four .50 caliber BMG assault rifles, AK-47’s and AR-15’s, with a stockpile of parts and supplies for manufacture and assembly of weapons. They determined that this find was directly related to Jones, and did not seek to arrest Mrs. McIvor.
The detectives concluded that the large scale drug and weapons operation was being run by Justin Jones and Nadine Whitworth, with the assistance of Thomas Whitworth and Andrew Chilton. All four were booked into the Lake County Hill Road Correctional Facility. Jones was charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of high-capacity magazines, being armed while committing a felony, possession of assault weapons and importing and manufacturing assault weapons. He is due in court on July 29. Chilton and the Whitworths were all charged with cultivating marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and being armed while committing a felony. All three are due in court on August 26.