The owner of two commercial office buildings in Bakersfield has paid $1,675,000 to the United States to resolve claims that the buildings were used to house marijuana retail stores and large-scale indoor marijuana cultivation operations, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced in a news release Friday.

Nedeljko "Ned" Strizak, the owner of properties on 4100 Easton Drive and 4700 Easton Drive in Bakersfield, leased several commercial office suites to the operators of a marijuana retail store, the news release said. He also operated his own marijuana retail store at the Easton Drive properties.

Strizak leased many commercial office suites for large-scale indoor marijuana cultivation, as well as conducted his own large-scale indoor marijuana cultivation at the Easton Drive properties, the news release said. The two marijuana retail stores - American Green Farmers and Botanica Collective - sold, distributed and provided pot for sale and profit.

Law enforcement found hundreds of marijuana plants, processed marijuana and hash oil at the properties, according to the news release.

Strizak allegedly invested $120,000 into Botanica Collective, with the goal that the business would net him $100,000 a month in profit, the news release said. Botanica Collective was licensed only for the manufacture of "coffee and tea."

- The Californian