Pubdate: Thu, 24 Feb 2011
Source: Bellingham Herald (WA)
Copyright: 2011 Bellingham Herald
Author: Adan Lynn
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Court: Medical-Marijuana Cooperative Operators Discount Informant's Story

Pierce County prosecutors have dismissed numerous drug charges filed 
last year against two men who run a Tacoma medical-marijuana cooperative.

Guy Lewis Casey and Michael Jonathan Schaef - who operate the Club 
420 cooperative on Oregon Avenue - had been scheduled for trial in April.

Deputy prosecutor Jennifer L. Sievers filed paperwork Tuesday 
dismissing the case, saying that after further investigation she had 
"doubts as to the veracity" of a confidential informant who fed 
information to police.

"The informant was the basis for this investigation and is an 
essential witness for the state," Sievers wrote in court papers.

Prosecutors in May charged Casey, 49, with two counts of unlawful 
delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of unlawful 
possession of a controlled substance and unlawful manufacture of a 
controlled substance.

Schaef, 48, was charged with three counts of unlawful delivery of a 
controlled substance and one count each of unlawful possession of a 
controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful manufacture 
of a controlled substance.

Prosecutors alleged in court documents the men sold marijuana to 
people not authorized to have it, kept a larger supply on hand than 
the law allows and charged exorbitant prices to enrich themselves.

Much of the case was based on the testimony of the confidential 
informant, who claimed to have witnessed such behavior.

Agents with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team raided Club 420 
and two homes in May after receiving a tip from the informant.

"The club appears to be making thousands of dollars in unreported 
tax-free income from selling drugs to persons who may not qualify and 
profiting from taking advantage of those who have a legitimate and 
authorized medical need to use marijuana," the narcotics team said in 
a news release issued at the time of the raids.

Casey and Schaef have been out on bail since the charges were filed. 
Casey's lawyer, Aaron Pelley of Seattle, said his client is relieved 
to have the case dismissed.

"It's been our position all along that they had a bad (informant)," 
Pelley said. "My client wasn't going to take a deal. We intended to 
go to trial."

Schaef told The News Tribune he's happy Sievers "saw through the 
lies" of the informant. He also criticized the narcotics team for 
basing its case on the man's reports.

The investigation caused both men serious financial and emotional 
hardships, he said.

The cooperative has continued to operate and recently opened a second 
location, Schaef said.

"We've got a lot of good support in the community. We're still going 
strong," he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom