Pubdate: Thu, 08 Jun 2000
Source: Auburn Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Auburn Journal
Contact:  1030 High St., Auburn, CA 95603
Website: http://www.auburnjournal.com/
Author: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer

POT DEALER GIVEN SEVEN YEARS

The smell of marijuana-scented money put Placer County on the trail of a 
drug dealer that ended Wednesday with Granite Bay's Eric Alfred Worm being 
sentenced in Auburn to a seven-year, eight-month prison term.

The odorific cash came to the attention of the Special Investigations Unit 
drug enforcement team after Worm traded a quantity of $20 bills for $100s 
at a bank.

The discovery touched off an 18-month investigation that culminated with a 
raid on Worm's upscale Granite Bay home in December. Officers seized 15 
pounds of marijuana and more than a half-pound of cocaine  all measured 
into ounces and packaged in plastic bags. Most of the drugs were found 
stashed in an attic office, along with computer records that detailed a 
decade of drug dealing, according to a Placer County Probation Department 
report released after sentencing.

Worm, 45, pleaded guilty to several counts associated with trafficking in 
drugs from his home. An unemployed grocery clerk, Worm reportedly told 
investigators that he was earning $60,000 a year from marijuana and cocaine 
sales to close friends and close friends of friends.

The Probation Department report detailed an illegal business that bought 
Humboldt County-grown marijuana for $3,400 a pound and then turned it 
around at $350 an ounce.

The Special Investigations Unit said that Worm  bleary from smoking pot 
and ingesting cocaine  admitted while his home was being searched to being 
a long-time seller. Pot paid for his lifestyle, he reportedly told 
investigators.

"I wouldn't have what I have if I didn't do what I do," Worm was quoted as 
saying. The probation report stated that Worm later said he had been 
dealing drugs for five years and his many possessions were bought before then.

Deputy District Attorney David Tellman said the Weatherby Court residence 
owned by Worm is worth an estimated $400,000 to $450,000 and is now subject 
to forfeiture. So too are two vehicles, two motorcycles, two quad-runners, 
wall prints, bronze statues and $12,000 in cash that was found in a safe in 
the home's garage.

In addition to the prison sentence, Worm was ordered by Superior Court 
Judge Robert McElhany to pay a restitution fine of $10,000.
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