Pubdate: Thu, 08 Sep 2011
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Missoulian
Author: Gwen Florio, The Missoulian


A Miles City family of medical marijuana growers pleaded not guilty
Wednesday to updated federal charges stemming from coordinated raids
on marijuana businesses around the state last spring.

Richard Flor, 67, his wife Sherry Flor, 54, and their son Justin Flor,
were arraigned via video in U.S. District Court in Missoula on 12
charges ranging from conspiracy, the manufacture and distribution of
marijuana, money laundering and firearms violations.

The Flors are accused of growing marijuana in their home as well as in
Helena and Three Forks, and conspiring to distribute it around the
state, including in Missoula, according to charging documents.

The Flors, among the best-known of the people indicted by a grand jury
as a result of the raids, first appeared on some of the charges in
Billings in June. Their business was among 26 where federal search
warrants were executed on March 14, a day when the Legislature heard
testimony on whether to repeal or revise the state's voter-approved
law legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

The new indictment against the Flors details financial transactions,
with bank deposits of thousands of dollars every several days into
accounts at Wells Fargo and Valley Bank.

Between Dec. 3, 2009, and April 6, 2010, $87,974 was deposited into a
Wells Fargo account, according to the indictment. During that same
time, 11 checks totaling $79,680 were written from that same account,
with $53,780 of that deposited into the Valley Bank account, it said.

The indictment specified that the Flors knew a $7,517 cash deposit
into the Wells Fargo Account "represented the proceeds of some form of
unlawful activity."

Federal Magistrate Jeremiah Lynch outlined the penalties on those
charges, with mandatory minimum terms of five years in prison and a
maximum term of life in prison on charges of possession of firearms
during a drug-trafficking offense. Fines could range up to $2 million,
he said.

The indictment lists 29 firearms confiscated during the raids,
including five semiautomatic pistols, two pistols, four revolvers, six
shotguns, eight rifles and four semiautomatic rifles. Some of the guns
had no serial numbers.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of all the weapons, four
vehicles, and more than $1.7 million. All three Flors denied the
forfeiture moves Wednesday.

Although the Flors maintain their business complied with the state's
marijuana law, federal prosecutors have moved to ban any mention of
that during their trials. A hearing on that motion is set for Sept. 15
in Helena. 
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