Kingman mayor's son avoids prison with plea
3/11/2013 6:00:00 AM
By Doug McMurdo
KINGMAN - James Trenton "Trent" Salem could face a year in the Mohave County jail when he is sentenced April 2 on a charge related to his arrest in a marijuana grow operation last August.
Salem, the son of Kingman Mayor John Salem, entered a guilty plea Feb. 26 to a charge of facilitation of production of marijuana. The crime can be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, according to Arizona statutes.
"It can go either way," said prosecutor Tom Godfrey. "It's a felony right now, but if he successfully completes his probation it will be lowered to a misdemeanor. If he violates his probation it will remain a felony."
In addition to potential jail time, Salem also faces probation and fines.
Prosecutors dropped a handful of other felony charges related to the crime in exchange for the guilty plea. Salem, said Godfrey, was honest with police following his arrest.
Salem and his roommate Brandon Militello were both 19 years old when officers with the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested them at a home in the 3600 block of Wells Street.
Militello and his father, William Militello, 46, who was arrested later, have not entered plea deals with prosecutors and face several felony charges related to the grow operation.
Godfrey said no plea deals with the pair are being negotiated.
"We don't know if their cases will go to trial or not," he said.
All three men carried valid medical marijuana cards and were legally allowed to grow the weed. However, the amount seized in the raid - between 60 and 70 plants - reportedly exceeded what they could cultivate under the state's medical marijuana statutes.
In all, the MAGNET raid yielded about 4.5 pounds of marijuana and a half-pound of hashish.
Qualified patients are allowed to grow up to a dozen plants and have 2.5 ounces of pot, according to guidelines by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Godfrey said the new law hasn't made his job any more difficult, but that police have to look at pot possession in a new light now that having some is no longer necessarily an illegal act.
"The law is not as black and white as it could be," he said, "but the weight limits and number of plants you're allowed to have help. If you have 500 plants and you're only allowed to have 12, it's pretty easy to determine.
"I liken it to prescription drugs. If you have hydrocodone, for example, you're breaking the law if you don't have a prescription. If you do, you're not."