Marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring pleads guilty, sentencing hearing set

October 23, 2021

By KAREN VELIE

Marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of filing a false tax return on Friday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Dayspring appeared via Zoom.

Dayspring faces a statutory maximum penalty of 13 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.

Dayspring admitted to paying thousands of dollars in bribes to then-San Luis Obispo Supervisor Adam Hill for favorable votes on his cannabis business interests and for deliberately failing to report millions of dollars in income to the IRS. Dayspring agreed to plead guilty to both felony offenses, pay $3.4 million in restitution to the IRS, and cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation, as part of a plea agreement.

Former-supervisor Adam Hill

Dayspring was the majority owner of three approved retail pot shops and multiple large marijuana grows in San Luis Obispo County, as well as many cannabis businesses in other counties in California. During the past year, he has transferred interest in some of his businesses to his girlfriend Valnette Garcia.

To further his interests in the farms that grew cannabis in San Luis Obispo County, Dayspring began paying bribes to Hill in the fall of 2016 and continued doing so through Nov. 2019.

Dayspring paid Hill multiple bribes in cash and money orders totaling $32,000, according to the Justice Department. In exchange, Hill voted on matters affecting Dayspring’s farms, including voting multiple times in favor of ordinances that permitted Dayspring’s farms to operate before he had obtained final permitting approvals.

The FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter, which is part of an ongoing public corruption investigation focused on San Luis Obispo County.

In 2016, CalCoastNews first reported allegations Hill was asking marijuana business owners to pay bribes in return for favorable votes. For years, CalCoastNews exclusively reported about Dayspring’s alleged bribery, tax evasion, illegal cannabis sales and property fraud.

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diamond

Dayspring paying Hill since 2016. Heidi up to her hat in marijuana fumes, skips out like a parent owing child support. I’m betting the community wants to see political figures held accountable. Not simply writing a check covered by ill gotten gains, but actual time in a prison. Not county weekenders at the animal shelter or ankle bracelets. Prove to taxpayers crime doesn’t pay, unless of course you’re white and well connected to government officials or commit sex crimes against minors at Morro Bay High school, where covering up crime seems to be an ongoing practice.


slo-to-load

Lock him up. Lock them ALL up!


Adam Trask

24 months at Lompoc and five years probation. Let the howling begin from the righteous folks in SLO County.


slo_full_of_slow_learners

They have the cheapest ounce at $100. All i care about in all honesty is saving money. Don’t care how it’s done


kevin rise

Pretty much agreed. If people complain about this vs other county corruption and issues, then they’re being a bit bias. The feds are doing their job locally. The Sheriff and was Adam, hopefully the DA OU of anyone, and others are under their big ol nose. What does the DA say about all this, or he already has to the feds. I’m just happy to get extremely safe fda approved concentrates at low prices for my physiological plagued issues linked to industrial chemical exposure. Go marijuana. Can’t forget good jobs. Megan’s market starts their folks out at 18 plus tips with benefits, so.


MysticOne

Nothing cannabis related in the cali market is ‘fda approved’. Most of the products aren’t even state tested like required. They send in a tiny sample and claim they have 100lbs of the same stuff which is a lie and just use the small sample that passes to be able to sell the rest. It is all on the honor system and we see how well that works in this industry. I don’t trust anything I don’t grow myself. Even 805 Beach Breaks and Cookies Fam got busted locally doing very illegal stuff and they are still operating as if nothing happened because they just get slapped with a small fine. Pay the state their $ and your golden.


JordanJ

There is much county corruption, mostly linked to the leadership of the SLO Progressives and either development or cannabis. While you name others, no allegations of bribery have been lodged.


I want public officials who vote regarding what is best for the county, and not who is lining their pockets. Would this bother you if restaurant owners were selected by who paid the highest bribe to an elected official.


If all you care about is cheap cannabis, then you should care because the corruption has slowed permitting and allowed several big-players to run the industry.


But obviously, if bribery is OK if it financially benefits you, you are ethically compromised and your views are not something I understand.


MysticOne

If all you cared about was saving $ you would grow your own for $40/oz and have far higher quality than any garbage sold at dispensaries where they label products with the most hyped name of the month knowing it is not that strain just so they can charge more.


commonsenseguy

What? Are you saying the cannabis dealers are dishonest and self-serving? Wow! Imagine that. Vultures of the same feather.


Sure, grow your own like that ignorant sap in SLO that CCN had the story about a couple of days ago.


commonsenseguy

Sorry, but that fits the thought process of the fallen world view, not to mention the complete waste of $100. You would be better served giving that $100 to a community outreach source that provides for the needs of hurting families. Just a thought being that all you care about is honesty. Just think about how much more productive that would be, especially for those families. A much better investment in ALL HONESTY.


jimmy_me

The county regulated the heck out of cannabis, which resulted in keeping the price high. Had there been less regulation, most of your neighbors would be growing and the price would drop close to what it costs to grow outside, which is about $50/pound.


MysticOne

I can tell you have never grown outdoor if you think it cost $50/lb. If that were the case why did so many farms go belly up in Oregon when prices fell to $400/lb and it is magnitudes cheaper to get a state license? From all the Oregon growers I have spoken with, $500 was the break even for them and big investors with deep pockets were able to take the $100/lb loss for a few years in order to bankrupt the majority of mom and pop farms. It cost a lot of $ to do it right, even outdoor (organic inputs, predator bugs, Bacillus Thuringiensis spray, etc). Maybe you can grow a crappy plant outdoor in the ground with roundup for $50 if you like ingesting poison but I wouldn’t. Bud rot from caterpillars and powder mildew are huge issues for outdoor cannabis plants and need constant maintenance to ensure neither take hold and destroy the plant.


casappleton

Because he has plead guilty to fraudulently obtaining his businesses, all of them need to have their licenses and permits canceled. He is still able to profit off of this illegal activity by transferring them to his girlfriend. Give those that did the right thing the ability to make their businesses work and go after everyone who took bribes from this guy


obispan

I don’t hope he gets the maximum sentence, I hope he cooperates and gets the minimum and Heidi and other elected officials along with city staff get the maximum. The license process was designed for corruption. Convicted felon Helios scores highest on SLO City’s secretive “point system”? Same for Grover City.


commonsenseguy

How about all of them being caught, convicted, and given the maximum sentence for their crimes. Let’s be honest here, this all leads to the destruction of lives and families, not to mention all of the debased minds and the ongoing residuals from the use of the crap.


commonsenseguy

It’s my hope he get’s the maximum sentence for his willfully devious and arrogant crime. He by no means is a business man. He more like a modern day drug lord led by greed, power, and the destruction of human lives with his actions. Throw the book at this coward.


diamond

Yay! Now do Heidi Harmon and of the rest of the council.


Boldguy

Don’t forget the Council’s and Staffs of both Morro Bay and Grover Beach!!!

What about the rumors of John Shoals being wined and dined in Vegas with hookers and blow?


MysticOne

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Hope he gets the max sentence.