Six charged in Sebastopol pot, money-laundering scheme
EDITOR'S NOTE: All charges were dismissed against Eve Kosyra. Four defendents pleaded no contest to to misdemeanor possession of marijuana over 28.5 grams: Marc Kosyra, Sunali Shanti Sikland, Bradley Wayne Moore and John Edward Moore. Stephen McLaughlin pleaded no contest to a felony charge of being in an area where a controlled substance was used.
Six people face drug and money-laundering charges in connection with last year's discovery of more than $1.4 million in cash and other valuables hidden in the wall of a Sebastopol home.
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a 32-count complaint alleging the house in the 4500 block of Blank Road was being used for a large-scale marijuana-growing operation.
The complaint listed items seized during an August fire including the cash and $478,000 in gold and silver coins, as well as hundreds of pounds of pot, scales and a $126,000 machine used for making concentrated cannabis, or hash oil.
It also cited utility bill information alleging the occupants paid more than $100,000 to PG&E over a two-year period, most of it in cash.
And it mentioned other locations in Cazadero and Windsor that are alleged to be part of the same scheme.
'It was a large-scale marijuana operation with significant profits,' prosecutor Keith Shaw said Tuesday after filing the charges.
Named in the complaint are property owner Sunali Shanti Sikland, 40, and Bradley Wayne Moore, 32, both of Cazadero; Stephen McLaughlin, 57, formerly of Windsor, who is said to have lived on the Blank Road property; John Edward Moore, 28; Marc Kosyra, 42; and Eve Kosyra, 41.
All are charged with possession for sale of marijuana. But only Sikland, Eve Kosyra, Marc Kosyra and Bradley Moore, a volunteer firefighter, are charged with money-laundering.
McLaughlin was arraigned Tuesday and is free on bail.
'His alleged level of involvement, if any, is relatively insignificant,' said his attorney, Ryan Wilber.
The other defendants, who are also free, are ordered to appear before Judge Shelly Averill on March 30.
The money and valuables, considered the largest seizure in Sonoma County history, were found when firefighters responded to a blaze at the property on Aug. 9.
Several outbuildings were found to contain marijuana. Detectives found the money in a bathroom wall.
It was confiscated by federal agents under civil asset forfeiture laws that don't require a criminal conviction for seizures over certain amounts.
Local agencies were expected to share in a portion of the money.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @ppayne.