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Feds May Have To Reimburse Marijuana Grower

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
A Fairbanks man whose multimillion-dollar marijuana growing operation was disbanded in the early 1990s is poised to be reimbursed for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property seized by the federal government.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that John Collette did not receive proper notice for items confiscated, including two aircraft, a dump truck, snowmachines, a computer and more than $40,000 from bank accounts, according to court documents.

A lower court will determine the items’ worth, plus interest, unless the federal government settles with Collette or exercises an appeal.

“Beating up on the government at every opportunity has been my deal since I was 20 years old,” said Collette, who is now 60.

Fifteen years ago, Collette and his family were asleep early one morning when authorities, led by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, raided their home and business, Happy Creek Greenhouse.

Collette and 14 others were charged with crimes associated with a marijuana syndicate that reportedly reached the state of Washington.

Collette fled the country but later returned and pleaded guilty to more than a dozen charges having to do with manufacturing and distributing marijuana.

Collette served eight and a half years of an 11-year sentence and was released from prison in early 2003. Collette studied law while incarcerated, he said.

Since his release, Collette has spent much of his time working on his lawsuit against the government.

“I represented myself from beginning to end,” Collette said. “My bill would be half a million dollars, at least, if I were a lawyer.”

The case came before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a lower court dismissed Collette’s claim.

The 9th Circuit ruling, issued by memorandum on Sept. 6, was not completely in Collette’s favor.

The judges decided that proper notice was given before the DEA took ownership of a 1984 Audi Quattro, a 1984 Volkswagen Quantum, a 1982 Kubota tractor and marijuana growing equipment.

The DEA confiscates property from people accused of selling drugs if the property is deemed to have been bought with drug proceeds. By law, owners must be notified of what was seized and how to contest the seizures.

The DEA allegedly mailed Collette three or four notices regarding each seized item.

In one example, a 1988 Glasair III aircraft, the DEA sent three notices of seizure to Collette at three different addresses. One was returned to the DEA for insufficient address, another was returned because no mail box was available and the third was returned for an unknown reason.

Some notices were sent to Collette at the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in Anchorage and signed for by jail workers.

The federal government has maintained that Collette didn’t know about the seizure notices because he didn’t want to know.

Collette said that if the government repays him, most of the money would go toward debts.

If the case reaches the level of the U.S. Supreme Court — a long shot, Collette admits — that wouldn’t bother him either.

“It would give me a national forum to go from talk show to talk show,” Collette said. “I’m an old announcer with KUAC, so I am familiar with microphones.”

News Hawk- User http://www.420Magazine.com
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Author: Amanda Bohman
Contact: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Copyright: 2007 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Website: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner » Archive » Feds may have to reimburse marijuana grower
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New Member
I hope he wins, its about time we got something back. I love this right here,
“Beating up on the government at every opportunity has been my deal since I was 20 years old,” said Collette, who is now 60.

I really hope this guy wins his case and on a national scale as well. Great read as always user! +rep!

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
“Beating up on the government at every opportunity has been my deal since I was 20 years old,” said Collette, who is now 60.
i thought is was a great quote too :cool:


New Member
Kudos to this man. With 8+ years of studying law I'm sure he'll win on this technicality. :3::peace:
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