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Deputies seize guns, pot, $115,000 from house north of Santa Rosa

Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies seized guns, cash and marijuana from a home north of Santa Rosa early Monday morning. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

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Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.

Sixteen guns and more $115,000 cash were among the evidence seized from a house in the Riebli Road area north of Santa Rosa when deputies responding to a disturbance found processed and growing marijuana, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said.

The homeowner, Nicholas Lopedoth, was arrested early Monday morning when he returned home to find that a disruption caused by his brother had brought investigators to the house, authorities said.

Patrol deputies went to Oak Haven Court home after neighbors complained of screaming and yelling that they thought meant someone was in distress, said sheriff's Sgt. Steve Gossett, who runs narcotics investigations for the Sonoma County sheriff.

Deputies encountered Travis Thoeni-Castagnatto, 25, who appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant and said he had been yelling because he thought someone was lying in the brush, Gossett said.

Deputies searched the house to make sure it was safe, Gossett said, and saw an indoor marijuana garden that prompted them to alert detectives, Gossett said.

Investigators who returned with a search warrant found about 130 growing plants, 30 pounds of packaged marijuana, two pounds of hashish, more than $115,000 in cash, a mix of handguns and rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a sword hidden in a cane, money counting equipment and scales, Gossett said.

They were still searching the house when a taxi pulled up the long driveway. Investigators said the passenger was Lopedoth, who had been out celebrating Cinco de Mayo when friends put him in a cab and sent him home, Gossett said.

Lopedoth, who identified himself as an appraiser, reportedly told the taxi driver to “put it in reverse” when he saw law enforcement officers at his house, but the driver immediately put his hands up and cooperated with investigators, Gossett said.

Lopedoth was highly intoxicated, Gossett said, and was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana and possession for sale, being armed in the commission of a felony, possession of an illegal weapon, resisting arrest and other offenses.

He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on $15,000 bail, was preparing to be released after posting bond by noon Monday, jail personnel said.

His brother, who was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and probation violation, remained in jail on a no-bail hold, jail personnel said.

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