The Colorado Attorney General’s office, and the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force have shut down a marijuana-distribution ring.
The drug ring was using state-issued medical marijuana records to conceal its distribution of large quantities of marijuana to non-patients in northern Colorado and New Mexico between December 2009 and December 2010.
According to the indictment obtained by the attorney general’s office, Richard G. Caleel, Lakshman N. Garin, Buck Glanz, Magin Gomez, Micah Krout, Clayton McCann and Laura Vanwormer produced the marijuana in Fort Collins, Erie, Longmont and Westminster, while Charles Whitson and Austin Leard are suspected of selling the marijuana.
“This case, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to Coloradans who have been concerned that there is a nexus between Colorado’s booming medical marijuana industry and illegal distribution of the drug,” Attorney General John Suthers said. “This case counters the contention among marijuana advocates and some public officials that a regulated medical marijuana system will undercut the illicit market for marijuana.”
The drug ring is suspected of using packets of photocopied patient records as a cover for their operation. The marijuana grow operators intended to use the records to convince law enforcement that they were caregivers acting in compliance with Colorado’s medical marijuana laws, according to the indictment.
“This case reflects a growing trend in Colorado of individuals and organized groups of individuals growing high grade marijuana under the guise of Amendment 20 and blatantly distributing it to anyone willing to pay their price,” said Sgt. Gary Shaklee of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. “As is the case with all drug dealers, this is about greed, plain and simple. Much of the marijuana in this case was knowingly transported out of state where it is resold for as much as $7,000 per pound.”
The drug task force and the attorney general’s office seized more than 110 pounds of processed marijuana – worth an estimated $375,000 – and 687 marijuana plants, along with nine firearms and $175,000 in cash.
Prosecutors from the attorney general’s office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office will present the case against the defendants in Jefferson County District Court.