During the last several months, Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) detectives received information from several sources regarding on going marijuana cultivation on a parcel in Juniper Woods Ranch, Ash Fork, Arizona. PANT later verified extensive activity at the location to support the cultivation of marijuana plants that were also observed. During the course of the investigation, detectives identified 50-year-old Thomas Vincent Williams as caretaker for the cultivation and learned that Thomas had recruited ‘patients’ from the area in an attempt to legitimize his business under medical marijuana statues. Thomas was known to sell to anyone with, or without, a medical marijuana card. More than 100 plants were associated with the growing operation based on the latest information.
Additionally, detectives also received a report from an out of state narcotics task force regarding contact with Thomas. PANT detectives learned that earlier this year, Thomas was arrested for transporting 21 pounds of marijuana by the out of state task force while carrying several thousand dollars in cash. Thomas claimed the marijuana was for a sick friend and the cash came from ‘donations’ he received from his ‘patients’ in Arizona. This would be illegal under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
Detectives checked with Arizona Department of Health Services, the agency that manages Arizona’s medical marijuana program. Thomas had caregiver/cultivation status earlier this year and as of late July, 2018, detectives verified it had expired. Even with legal status, the amount of plants being cultivated far exceeded the 12 plant maximum under Thomas’ current status.
During a review of the operation, detectives discovered that Thomas would take mature marijuana buds to his home in the 700 block of West Dog Road, Paulden, for processing and packaging. On August 16, 2018, detectives obtained a search warrant for Thomas’ home in Paulden and the cultivation in Ash Fork. At the Paulden home, detectives found a Butane Hash Oil* lab and Thomas admitted manufacturing marijuana wax, hash and oil. Approximately 75 grams of marijuana wax and nearly 70 pounds of marijuana in various stages of processing were also seized.
At the Juniper Woods location, detectives seized 144 well cared for marijuana plants in various growing stages – see above photo.
Thomas was arrested following the search warrant and booked into the Camp Detention Center on charges including Manufacturing/Sales of Marijuana, Manufacturing a Narcotic, and a Weapons Offense regarding a firearm seized. He is being held without bond.
* BHO labs, the process - Marijuana trimmings are put into a holding container with butane pushed through until only the butane escapes and the plant matter remains. This process allows for the cannabinoids to be removed from the marijuana by pumping the butane through the holding container. It becomes a liquid mixture of butane and marijuana, which is then evaporated in an attempt to remove the harmful substances resulting in a waxy or honey-like substance. This is a very dangerous procedure because any flame in the area could quickly ignite the butane and fire/explosions in similar labs have taken place around the country.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov