The Region

The owners of a $135,000 ranch will give their land to the government in exchange for dismissal of felony drug charges against them. The settlement is believed to be the first in the nation under a new federal law, said Ronald Sinoway, attorney for Rique Kuru, 30, and his wife, Natasha, 32. Assistant U.S. Atty. Peter Robinson said that the law allows the government to seize the land without the time and expense of a trial. The Kurus were arrested last October at their Bell Springs Ranch in Mendocino County when federal agents seized 52 marijuana plants and a pound of packaged marijuana. The government will eventually auction off the ranch. Proceeds will go to pay off a $95,000 mortgage on the property and benefit marijuana eradication efforts in Mendocino County.

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