A Sacramento property owner News10 has investigated since late last year was arrested Wednesday September 10th in connection to a pot-growing operation at a motel he owns — in Nevada.News10/KXTV
George Warren, KXTV7:24 p.m. PDT September 10, 2014
SACRAMENTO – A Sacramento man whose previous conflicts with authorities have generally involved code violations with homes in urban neighborhoods was arrested Wednesday afternoon on drug charges stemming from a motel he owns in the Nevada desert.
Singh was taken into custody outside his midtown Sacramento four-plex by Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies shortly before 1 p.m.
An investigator said if Singh is able to post $50,000 bail he would be released pending an extradition hearing, although the jail website showed a no-bail extradition hold.
Mineral County, Nevada Sheriff Stewart Handte obtained the arrest warrant for Singh Friday, three days after a raid on the Roadrunner Motel in the small community of Schurz resulted in the seizure of a half-million dollars’ worth of marijuana plants, processed marijuana and hash oil.
Handte said a telephone conversation with Singh last Wednesday convinced him Singh was behind the drug operation at the motel.
Following Singh’s arrest, Handte praised Sacramento authorities for actively pursuing him.
“Teamwork got it done. He’s in custody, and now he has to face the consequences of the legal system,” Handte said.
California drug investigation
Singh is also the subject of a drug investigation in Northern California.
A state and local task forced known as the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigation Team raided two of Singh’s properties outside Placerville on Friday, seizing scores of pot plants at both locations.
Handte said he was working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Reno to explore whether federal drug charges might be pursued because of the interstate issue.
Fraud and forgery
Singh faces a separate criminal investigation in Sacramento County for allegedly forging an attorney’s signature on more than two dozen court documents in an apparent attempt to skirt rules established to prevent frivolous lawsuits.
The California court system and U.S. Bankruptcy Court have identified Singh as a vexatious litigant, meaning he must get prior court approval before filing a new lawsuit without an attorney.
In July, Singh was fined $15,000 by the California 3rd District Court of Appeal for pursuing a meritless lawsuit.
Code enforcement battles
Singh has also been involved in long-running battles with code enforcement authorities in Sacramento County and the city of Sacramento.
A fire last December in one of his boarded-up houses at 4510 Stockton Blvd. killed a woman who was initially identified as a squatter.
Singh later admitted he had allowed Rosalea Trejo to live in the house.
An analysis of tax records shows Singh owns at least 28 properties, most of them paid for with cash and all of them held in the names of various trusts or his wife, Kiran Rawat.
In an extraordinary move, the Sacramento City Council Tuesday approved billing Rawat over $10,018 in fees and penalties as a personal debt for a substandard house on 7809 Cotton Lane that was demolished in June.
Code enforcement assessments are generally recovered by placing liens on the property, but city building official Ron O’Connor said that tactic has not worked with the Singhs.
The Singhs, who file their income taxes jointly, face hundreds of thousands of dollars in IRS liens that take priority.
“We’re trying a different way to get our money,” O’Connor said.