MURRIETA (CNS) – A 40-year-old Riverside resident accused with another man of operating an indoor marijuana grow in Wildomar that caused major damage to the property pleaded not guilty today to felony and misdemeanor charges.
James Everett Hill was arrested along with 21-year-old Rene Robert Luna in September after a Riverside County sheriff’s raid on the illegal grow site in the 32000 block of Trailwood Court, near Union Street.
Hill and Luna are both charged with felony theft of utilities and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana for sale and commercial cultivation of cannabis without a permit.
Hill was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Jan. 9 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
The defendant is free on a $30,000 bond. Luna, who is free on a $10,000 bond, is slated to be arraigned Monday.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Glenn Warrington, area residents complained in early September to the sheriff’s department about the possibility of illegal cannabis cultivation occurring at the defendants’ property. Following an investigation, deputies obtained a search warrant and served it at the house on Sept. 25, seizing 430 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, Warrington said.
“In addition, the electrical supply to the residence had been illegally altered allowing for the theft of electrical services,” he said. “There were additional rooms still in the process of being converted to grow rooms.”
Because of the major interior alterations to the house, code enforcement officials declared it uninhabitable, according to Warrington.
Court records show that Hill has a prior misdemeanor conviction for driving under the influence. Luna has no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.