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Publisher Found Guilty in Drug Case

April 03, 1998|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

The publisher of the Fillmore Herald newspaper faces up to eight years and eight months in prison after being convicted of giving marijuana to two teenage boys.

Following a weeklong trial in Ventura County Superior Court, Douglas Gordon Huff, 52, was found guilty Wednesday of four felony drug charges involving a weekend party at his Fillmore home in 1995, Deputy Dist. Atty. David Lehr said.

Huff was acquitted of a fifth felony drug charge.

"I was pleased with the verdict," Lehr said. "You shouldn't provide drugs to kids."

Huff, who is free on his own recognizance pending sentencing May 8, denied the charges during the trial, according to Deputy Public Defender Neil Quinn.

Huff, who Quinn said suffers from pancreatic cancer, also denied ever using marijuana.

Lehr said a search of Huff's house in 1995 found marijuana, marijuana seeds and a brown-colored water pipe.

In December 1995, the boys, then 14 and 16, went to Huff's home and spent a weekend smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol and watching naked women on cable television, Lehr said.

The older boy knew Huff because he had worked at the Herald folding newspapers and scraping wax from presses, Lehr said. That boy is now 18 and living in Chino. The younger boy has since moved to Ventura, he said.

Huff was arrested and booked after the mother of the 14-year-old became worried and called authorities.

The publisher's attorney said the teenagers lied in the case as a way to avoid being punished.

"My hope is that the offenses will be treated in a manner consistent with the harm caused, which was zilch," Quinn said.

Huff, the Herald's publisher and editor for more than 10 years, continues to run the paper's day-to-day operations. He could not be reached Thursday for comment.

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