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Attorney was running pot operation out of his home, police say

Published: Saturday, Aug. 29 2015 3:37 a.m. MDT

James Wesley Robinson

 (Salt Lake County Jail) James Wesley Robinson (Salt Lake County Jail)

SALT LAKE CITY — A lawyer with the city police department told one woman if she wanted to buy pot from him and his sons, she needed to come to their house so the two young men wouldn't be caught with drugs in their cars, according to charges filed Friday.

James Wesley Robinson, 50, was charged in 3rd District Court on Friday with operating a clandestine laboratory, a first-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a second-degree felony; and possession or use of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony.

Robinson is also charged with four counts of possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor.

A Salt Lake City police officer was responding to reports of a robbery Wednesday at Robinson's home, 1955 E. Bryan Ave., when he was invited in. The officer saw several bongs and other drug paraphernalia laying in plain sight and smelled marijuana, charges state.

Alexander Jordan Robinson (Salt Lake County Jail) Alexander Jordan Robinson (Salt Lake County Jail)

As they served a warrant later that night, police found "several pounds of marijuana, dozens of bongs, grinders, pipes, rolling papers, scales, multiple containers bearing marijuana residue and $26,230 cash" scattered throughout the house.

Robinson's two sons, Alexander Jordan Robinson, 21, and Zachary Ryan Robinson, 18, were charged Wednesday with operating a clandestine laboratory, a first-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a second-degree felony; and possession or use of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor.

The three Robinsons were reportedly producing and selling "Dab" or "Shatter," a concentrated, caramel-like substance produced from raw marijuana, according to the charges. Dab, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and cash were found in both sons' bedrooms.

Zachary Ryan Robinson  (Salt Lake County Jail) Zachary Ryan Robinson (Salt Lake County Jail)

A woman who told police she frequently bought marijuana at the house said Alex and Zach Robinson had talked about expanding their business. After smoking pot at the house with James Robinson, the lawyer told her to wash her face and hands so she wouldn't get caught, charges state.

Investigators also located a vial of cocaine and a handgun in James Robinson's bedroom. In a room James Robinson said he kept locked to keep his sons out, they also found more than 2 ½ pounds of bagged marijuana, three firearms, cash, drug paraphernalia and elements of a marijuana cultivation system.

Court documents did not elaborate who reported a possible robbery at the Robinson home, but a source familiar with the incident said one of Robinson's sons was pulled over while speeding through the city Wednesday.

The son allegedly told an officer that his house had been burglarized and he was chasing the suspects. But the occupants of the other vehicle said that wasn't the case and tipped police about drugs in the home, according to the source. A Salt Lake City police spokeswoman said she could not confirm that information Thursday.

James Robinson, who graduated from the University of Utah Law School, has been a member of Utah State Bar since 1992. He was hired to work for the Salt Lake City Attorney's Office in 2000 in the civil division. In June 2013, he was assigned to represent the Salt Lake City Police Department on civil and transactional matters.

He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

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