Felons to stand trial for allegedly robbing Winchester hemp farm

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Dana Potter, Hector Tinoco-Ochoa, and April Martin were arrested for allegedly stealing plants from a lawful hemp farm in Winchester. (Riverside County Sheriff's Department)

MURRIETA (CNS) – A pair of convicted felons accused of robbing a Winchester hemp farm, holding employees at gunpoint while chopping down cannabis plants, must stand trial on robbery and firearm charges, a judge ruled on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
April Marlene Martin, 39, and Dana Francis Potter, 37, were arrested several hours after last month’s holdup. A third defendant, 22-year-old Hector Tinoco Ochoa, was also taken into custody, but he posted a $30,000 bond and was released from jail.
Following a preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center, Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Monterosso found there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Martin and Potter on the robbery count, as well as a charge being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
The judge scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Nov. 26 at the Murrieta courthouse.
Ochoa is slated to be arraigned on Dec. 26.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Chad Thompson, the trio allegedly drove onto the legally registered hemp cultivation site about 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 26 and began physically extracting cannabis plants, in some cases chopping them at the roots, then tossing them into a vehicle.
When farmworkers confronted the defendants, one of them allegedly leveled a gun at the victims before fleeing, Thompson said.
A description of their vehicle was provided to deputies and the car was found a couple of hours later, parked in the 4800 block of Creekridge Lane in Hemet, where Martin, Ochoa and Potter were taken into custody without incident, the sergeant said.
A fourth suspect was also arrested. However, further investigation did not substantiate that he was a co-conspirator in the robbery, and no charges were filed against him.
Martin is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. She has several drug-related convictions.
Potter is being held in lieu of $160,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta. He has priors for fraud, being in possession of controlled substances and parole violations, according to court records.