HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Three Operators Of Denver Medical-Pot Operation Charged
Pubdate: Sat, 15 Oct 2011
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2011 The Denver Post Corp
Author: John Ingold


The charging of three medical-marijuana entrepreneurs with federal
drug crimes sowed chaos in the state's cannabis community Friday and
raised questions about why the owners' dispensary was allowed to stay
open after a previous police raid.

Father-and-son Ha and Nathan Do were in federal lockup on
drug-distribution charges Friday night, held without bail, after
agents raided an unlicensed marijuana-growing warehouse in Denver and
seized more than 1,000 cannabis plants. Along with Ha Do's brother,
Hai Do, the three run the Earth's Medicine dispensary in Denver and
operate three cultivation facilities that have applied for licenses,
according to state records.

Hai Do and Richard Crosse, the owner of the raided warehouse, were
also charged with drug distribution but have not yet been arrested.

Thursday's raid at the warehouse at 3885 Forest St. was the second
time in four months that law enforcement officials have seized
marijuana plants at the facility. Denver police, acting on a tip,
raided the warehouse in June and seized nearly 2,000 plants, according
to a Denver search warrant affidavit and a criminal complaint in the
federal case.

According to the complaint, the Do family then rebuilt the cultivation
operation. Federal and state officials contend that the warehouse does
not have the required state license.

The Do family disputed that allegation and presented an e-mail and a
letter from state regulators that the family said proves the warehouse
is legal, according to the complaint. Federal agents determined the
documents "did not establish compliance with state law," according to
the complaint.

"The fact that the defendants then returned to the same warehouse to
start another illegal marijuana grow operation demonstrates that they
were flaunting the law," U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a statement
announcing the arrests.

Federal authorities allege that the Do family sold marijuana from the
warehouse into the black market and to people out of state.

The Do family's previous law enforcement run-in raised questions about
why state regulators - seeking to implement the most rigorous
marijuana-business rules in the country - allowed Earth's Medicine to
continue to operate after the raid. Julie Postlethwait, a spokeswoman
for the state Department of Revenue's Medical Marijuana Enforcement
Division, declined to explain the decision but said regulators had
worked with federal agents on the case.

"Any sanctions the MMED may take against the applicants affected by
these actions will depend on result of further investigation," she
wrote in an e-mail.

Federal agents on Thursday also raided the Cherry Top Farms dispensary
in Denver after following a truck from the Do warehouse to the business.

Nobody at Cherry Top Farms was arrested, and federal agents seized
more than 2,500 marijuana plants as well as other marijuana-infused
products from the business only because the items are contraband.

A manager at Cherry Top Farms on Friday said the dispensary follows
state law and hired Nathan Do as a consultant only about a week ago.
She otherwise declined to comment. An attorney for Cherry Top Farms
could not be reached for comment.
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