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Pubdate: Sat, 15 Oct 2011 Source: Denver Post (CO) Copyright: 2011 The Denver Post Corp Contact: http://www.denverpost.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/122 Author: John Ingold THREE OPERATORS OF DENVER MEDICAL-POT OPERATION CHARGED WITH FEDERAL DRUG CRIMES 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. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.