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Sebastopol man gets jail, fine in pot-cash cash

A Sebastopol man convicted of carrying $47,000 in proceeds from marijuana sales in the trunk of his car was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail and ordered to pay a hefty fine.

Not only must William David Bush forfeit the money seized last year during a traffic stop, but he must pay a $94,000 money-laundering fine, Judge Gary Medvigy ruled.

Medvigy said there was no evidence that Bush earned the money through legitimate enterprise. On the contrary, the bills - stashed in a suitcase and wrapped in plastic - appeared to come from a recent sale or sales of marijuana, Medvigy said.

He noted that the money reeked of marijuana.

"It was as if the marijuana had recently been removed," he said.

Jurors agreed. Even though only small particles of pot were found in Bush's Mercedes-Benz, pulled over on Bennet Valley Road, the panel said there was enough evidence to believe the money came from some sort of marijuana transaction.

At Bush's sentencing Thursday, the judge ordered that he serve six months in jail follwed by probation, instead of up to four years in prison. Medvigy cited Bush's lack of any significant criminal record in making the sentence.

Bush, who represented himself at trial, gave various explanations for the money, including that it was a gift from his parents and that he earned it through his ATM business.

He didn't speak at his sentencing.

His attorney, Izaak Schwaiger, asked for probation instead of jail, saying Bush was intelligent and articulate but has "not lived life without mistake."

"He deserves a chance, your honor, to show the court that the punishment meted out is sufficient," Schwaiger said.


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