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Drug dealer gets 90 days

Faces 36 months of probation following sentence

Posted: March 30, 2009 11:13 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2009 4:59 a.m.
 

Mushroom dealer David Dunnell pleaded guilty to felony possession of hallucinogenic drugs and was sentenced to 90 days in county jail in Santa Clarita Superior Court Monday.

Dunnell faces 36 months of probation following his 90-day county jail sentence, where he must submit to random drug testing, probation search conditions and drug rehabilitation, said Christina Behle, Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender.

"This time in jail has been a huge wake-up call," Behle said. "This was a hard lesson for him."

The light sentence stems from Dunnell's clean record leading up to his arrest and the likelihood of him not repeating the crime, she said.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Narcotics Bureau detectives arrested Dunnell, 26, of Canyon Country, for felony possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms on March 12 in the 29700 block of Solamint Road.

Neighbors reported a domestic disturbance, which drew deputies to Dunnell's apartment, Lt. Brenda Cambra said. Deputies spotted a marijuana pipe in plain sight in Dunnell's home, she said.

Narcotics detectives returned later the same day with a search warrant and found more than a dozen jars of mushrooms, along with mushroom cultivating equipment, Cambra said.

The bust ranks among the largest in Santa Clarita Valley history, according to Sgt. Richard Larue of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Narcotic Bureau.

Fire Department and LAPD teams draped in hazmat suits toiled for more than three hours lugging jars of mushrooms and boxes full of mushroom-growing equipment out of Dunnell's Canyon Country apartment.

The Los Angeles County Fire Health and Hazmat crew, along with officers from the Los Angeles Police Department Crime Lab, assisted in the removal of materials from the apartment because psilocybin mushrooms are considered a biohazard, said Thomas Provost, county Fire Department hazardous materials specialist.

Each hazmat and crime lab team member's gear was thoroughly scrubbed after all the mushrooms were removed.

Dunnell begins serving his county jail sentence immediately.

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