PAHRUMP — Former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss was charged with felonies this week after the discovery of nearly 400 marijuana plants at her home in August.
Fleiss, 47, was charged Monday with one count of opening or maintaining a place for unlawful sale, gift or use of a controlled substance, and one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
Her attorney, Jason Earnest, said he wasn’t surprised by the felony charges.
“With the DA’s history in cases like these, those charges are in the neighborhood of what I would expect to see,” Earnest said. “At this point they are just allegations. I think there are some things that may come out later on down the line in the case, but my client plans to be here and to face this head-on.”
The charges are related to an Aug. 7 discovery at her home, 1451 E. Fort Churchill Road, by a Nye County sheriff’s deputy looking for a wanted person. The deputy didn’t find his suspect, but did find 392 marijuana plants.
According to police, the officer had gone to the residence and knocked on the open front door to the main house. When no one answered, he walked to the backyard where he found some of the plants growing in pots. After Fleiss gave permission for a search, he and other officers found more plants inside the home, police said.
Police said Fleiss told them she was growing marijuana to supply a cooperative in Las Vegas, but she could not produce the necessary documentation to support that claim.
A search of the rest of the property led to the discovery of 234 plants growing in the separate residence and 158 growing in the backyard, for a total of 392 plants in all.
Despite the large number of plants discovered on the property, Fleiss was not arrested. Police said her cooperation in the matter weighed in her favor.
Police also noted that she had $200,000 worth of exotic birds in her home, which would have posed a burden on county animal control officers.
Fleiss is scheduled to be arraigned in Pahrump Justice Court on Oct. 23.
Contact Pahrump Valley Times reporter Kelsey Givens at firstname.lastname@example.org.