Source: (AP)
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 1998


LOS ANGELES, July 23 - Two men were arrested Thursday on charges of
engaging in a conspiracy to grow more than 6,000 marijuana plants and to
distribute the drug throughout Southern California.

Five other defendants previously arrested, and two people who are
fugitives, were also named in a superseding indictment returned by a
federal grand jury in Los Angeles.

The nine-count indictment alleges that marijuana was grown at four
locations in Los Angeles County in an operation that received funds through
a publishing company run by one of the defendants.

On one of the four sites, 4,116 marijuana plants were being grown,
according to federal prosecutors.

Those arrested Thursday were Peter McWilliams, 48, of Los Angeles, who owns
Prelude Press, and David Richards, 25, of Lancaster.

Also indicted, but previously arrested, were:  Todd McCormick, 27, of
Bel-Air;  Kirill Dyjine, also known as Hermes Zygott, 33, of Hollywood;
Andrew Scott Hass, 34, of Malibu and Bellingham, Wa.;  Christopher
Carrington, 32, of Manhattan Beach;  and Gregg Collier, 25, of Van Nuys and

The two fugitives were identified as Aleksandra Evanguelidi, 24, and Renee
Boje, 28, both of Los Angeles.

The indictment charges all nine defendants in a conspiracy to grow
marijuana, with possessing the drug with the intent to distribute it, and
with distributing marijuana.

McWilliams allegedly financed the growing operation, which was located at
his Laurel Canyon home and at other residential properties that had been
leased, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Fernando Aenlle-Rocha.

He is also charged with attempting to negotiate contracts to sell harvested
marijuana grown by McCormick and Hass, who allegedly planned and created
sophisticated indoor and outdoor growing centers.

McWilliams' Century City-based attorney, Harland Braun, said his client is
one of the most prominent advocates for the medicinal use of marijuana in
the country and is not a criminal.

"The government is trying to make medicinal use of marijuana a criminal
conspiracy," he said. "You might not like what he's doing, but he's doing
what he believes is right."

Braun said his client would use a federal trial to "educate the public." He
was released on $250,000 bail and is due back in court for arraignment on

McWilliams, a self-publisher whose books include "How to Survive the Loss
of a Love" and "How to Heal Depression," describes himself as an AIDS and
cancer patient and 'outspoken advocate' of medical marijuana use and
Proposition 215.

He contends he uses marijuana to ease the nausea caused by the 'cocktail'
of drugs he takes to sustain his life. The indictment alleges that
McWilliams and McCormick -- who was arrested last July 29 for growing more
than 4,000 marijuana plants at his rented Bel-Air mansion -- had an
agreement regarding the cultivation of the drug. The indictment further
alleges that:

- - McWilliams provided McCormick and other defendants with more than
$100,000 during 1997;

- - McCormick used a Prelude Press credit card to purchase materials used to
cultivate and process marijuana;

- - McCormick cultivated and distributed marijuana at his $6,000-a-month
rented home in Bel-Air;

- - the defendants attempted to sell marijuana to the Los Angeles Cannibis
Buyer's Club;

- - and that McWilliams stated that he wanted to become the "Bill Gates of
medical marijuana." McCormick and Dyjine were previously indicted on
charges of manufacturing marijuana, and that indictment was superseded by
the nine-count complaint unsealed Thursday.

- ---
Checked-by: (Joel W. Johnson)