Crime

Grandfather of alleged cocaine trafficker made an unknowing participant, prosecutors say

Chase Hanson, center, is accused of being the leader of a drug ring that sold cocaine and other substances. His attorney Jeffry Radding is seated at right. In the background are faces and names of those implicated in the investigation.
Chase Hanson, center, is accused of being the leader of a drug ring that sold cocaine and other substances. His attorney Jeffry Radding is seated at right. In the background are faces and names of those implicated in the investigation. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Alleged cocaine trafficker Chase Hanson’s drug-dealing network involved a vast circle of operators from street-level dealers to Mexican drug cartels — including even his own grandfather, prosecutors attempted to show this week.

Donald Timmerman, of Paso Robles, was a reluctant witness for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, testifying under subpoena against his grandson, Hanson, 26, of Morro Bay. He was one of the state’s final witnesses after nearly two weeks of proceedings that has included testimony from an alleged manager claiming he was threatened to stay in the drug game and wire-tapped conversations from Hanson himself reminiscent of TV shows like “The Wire.”

Hanson is accused of running the largest cocaine trafficking operation in recent county history, until his August 2015 arrest following a 9-month-long investigation.

At times overcome with emotion, Timmerman testified that neither he nor his wife, Hanson’s grandmother, owned any of the six long guns — including three assault rifles illegal in the state of California — found in a shed on his property, an envelope containing several thousand dollars in cash or any of the high-capacity ammunition magazines, MDMA or cellphones also recovered by police on the property.

“Nobody has a reason for these,” Timmerman said about the assault rifles.

Timmerman testified that Hanson had access to the shed and his home. Police allege Hanson was one of only two people with a key to the shed where the weapons and drugs allegedly were found.

Though he said Hanson never spoke to him about drugs or drug trafficking, Timmerman testified that when his grandson asked him for help building a metal box for a hydraulic press, he suspected he was using it to package marijuana. However, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office Detective Jason Nadal testified Hanson purchased the press and used it to package kilos of cocaine, not marijuana.

Early on in his testimony, Timmerman made known his displeasure with law enforcement’s treatment of him during the warrant search of his property.

“I’ll never forget it. I still feel like I’ve been violated,” he said.

Hanson’s attorney, Jeffry Radding, also rested Wednesday. He called no witnesses. However, through cross examination he sought to raise questions about Nadal’s investigation and targeting of Hanson, as well as co-defendant Dane Bennett’s possible ulterior motives for testifying against Hanson.

Both Radding and Deputy District Attorney Kristy Imel are expected to deliver closing arguments Thursday. The case then will be handed to the jury.

  Comments