Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team Arrests Five People Involved In Large-Scale Indoor Marijuana Cultivation

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

NEVADA COUNTY – The Department of Justice-led Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team (MAVMIT) served four state search warrants which resulted in the seizure of more than 500 marijuana plants and 50 pounds of processed marijuana, and the arrest of five individuals involved in a large scale indoor marijuana growing operation.

The investigation targeted a drug trafficking organization (DTO) involved in a large-scale, illegal indoor marijuana growing operation in Nevada County which was cultivating marijuana inside large green houses and supplying processed marijuana to dispensaries in the Los Angeles area and Arizona.

During the operation, which began in January 2012, agents served four state search warrants at four locations in the Penn Valley and Smartsville areas. The investigation has resulted in five arrests, and the seizure of more than 500 mature marijuana plants, 50 pounds of processed marijuana, two loaded firearms (one semi-automatic handgun and one revolver), more than 870 rounds of ammunition, and small amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine. Agents also froze 10 bank accounts belonging to the individuals arrested and seized approximately $15,000 in U.S. currency. Those arrested during Tuesday’s operation have been booked into the Nevada County Jail and currently face state charges ranging from possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, and a felon in possession of a firearm. Joseph Axtell and Eric Moffatt are convicted felons. Those arrested include:

Joseph William Axtell of Penn Valley ($1 million bail), DOB: 1/16/57; Eric Steven Moffatt of Smartsville, DOB: 6/16/63; Lesley Nemeth of Penn Valley ($500,000 bail), DOB: 5/4/61; Jinny Janow of Smartsville, DOB: 4/15/71; and Jeff Santos of Penn Valley, DOB: 3/20/80.

Photos of items seized during Tuesday’s operation are attached to the electronic form of this press release at

The investigation is a collaborative effort led by California Department of Justice Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team, and assisted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Nevada County Sheriff’s Department, Placer Special Investigations Unit and Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team.

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