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Hearing reset for former Utah attorney, sons charged with making pot by-product

Published March 28, 2014 10:31 am

Courts • James Robinson and sons are accused of operating a makeshift lab in Sugar House home.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former Salt Lake City attorney and his two sons will next appear in court in May on criminal charges stemming from an alleged drug operation run out of the family's Sugar House home.

James Wesley Robinson and his two adult are accused of making a marijuana byproduct called "Dab" or "Shatter" in a make-shift lab.

The family made its first appearance before 3rd District Judge James Blanch earlier this month, and were slated for a scheduling conference Friday, but the hearing was continued until May.

Robinson, 50 — who was fired from his job with Salt Lake City on Feb. 24 — is charged with first-degree felony operation of a clandestine lab, second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute, second-degree felony drug possession, four third-degree felony counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, and one count of class A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

His sons, 21-year-old Alexander Jordan Robinson and 18-year-old Zachary Ryan Robinson, were each charged with first-degree felony operation of a clandestine lab, second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute and class A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to charging documents, police went to Robinson's Sugar House home on Feb. 18, after a burglary was reported there.

Inside, officers noticed a strong smell of marijuana and saw several bongs and other items of drug paraphernalia strewn about the home, documents state.

In executing a search warrant, police found several pounds of marijuana, dozens of bongs, grinders, pips, rolling papers, scales and $26,230 in cash, charges allege.

Officers also found in multiple locations in the home a caramel-like substance commonly referred to as "Dab" or "Shatter," which field-tested positive for THC, according to court documents. In the basement, officers found a pressure cooker with Dab in the bottom, as well as glass tubes, a butane torch, and numerous cans of butane.

Police also report having found firearms, several bags containing more than 2½ pounds of marijuana, a temperature controller commonly used in marijuana cultivation and a box containing "grow lights."

According to charges, marijuana, marijuana pipes, Dab and $6,900 in cash were found in Zachary Robinson's bedroom; in Alexander Robinson's bedroom, police found marijuana pipes, bongs, Dab, a scale, a vacuum sealer and $2,500 in cash; in the father's bedroom, police found a 9mm handgun and a vial containing a white substance that field-tested positive for cocaine.

An informant, identified in charging documents as A.D., told police she had purchased marijuana from the two sons on numerous occasions, and that Alexander Robinson had told her they wanted to expand their business.

Possession of a firearm is illegal if the owner also is in possession of illegal drugs, according to Sgt. Robin Heiden. Heiden has declined to disclose who reported the burglary.

The Robinsons' home is within 400 feet of Clayton Middle School, which enhances the clandestine lab charges.

Robinson was on paid administrative leave from the time of his arrest on Feb. 18 until he was fired on Feb. 24, said Art Raymond, spokesman for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

"He was terminated due to lost faith and confidence in his ability to serve as effective counsel to the police department or any other city department," according to Raymond.

The trio has remained out of custody since the February bust.

mlang@sltrib.com

Twitter: @Marissa_Jae