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No Charges Yet in Medical Cannabis Raid

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Unsealed warrants revealed some information on this week's medical marijuana raids statewide, including a greenhouse in Helena, but officials refused to release anything further Wednesday.

Following an 18-month-long investigation, 26 search warrants targeting seven medical marijuana businesses were executed Monday. Federal agents were looking for evidence to large-scale trafficking as well as tax evasion.

No charges have been filed so far.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Victoria Francis said she could not comment on whether any charges are pending.

"You can't talk about that sort of thing until arraignment," she said.

An inventory of items seized should be released this week or next, according to Francis.

As for the court documents supporting the warrants, Francis said those will probably not be released officially.

The Billings Gazette newspaper obtained a copy of an affidavit that said undercover agents had been investigating a partner at Montana Cannabis, Richard Flor, since 2007, with agents buying pot from Flor at least twice.

The affidavit also outlined interviews with ex-employees of Montana Cannabis that said the provider bought pounds of pot from Big Sky Patient Care for weeks last year when Montana Cannabis' main greenhouse near Helena was vandalized.

Flor's business partner Chris Williams has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Montana Cannabis runs a greenhouse on Highway 12 that provided marijuana for about 300 clients.

Agents took about $70,000 worth of lights and clipped electrical connections. When asked what happens to the business if no charges result, Francis said it will be up to the companies.

"Marijuana is still contraband," she added.

During Monday's raid, 1,700 plants were taken as well, in addition to bank accounts, both personal and business, being frozen.

Civil seizure warrants authorized agents to take more than $4.2 million from bank accounts in Kalispell, Helena and Belgrade.

Those named in the warrants include Montana Cannabis, with locations in Helena, Missoula, Billings and Miles City; Big Sky Patient Care of Dillon, Bozeman and Big Sky; Four Seasons Gardening of Columbia Falls; Northern Lights Medical of Columbia Falls; Good Medicine Providers of Columbia Falls; Montana Cannabis Ministry of Belgrade; Natural Medicine of Great Falls; and Queen City Caregivers of Helena.

It was not immediately clear if additional providers are also part of the investigation.

The civil seizure warrants authorized agents to take more than $4.2 million from bank accounts in Kalispell, Helena and Belgrade. In Belgrade, a warrant authorized seizure of nearly $1.7 million in a First Security Bank account in the name of the Montana Cannabis Ministry and $103,413 in another account belonging to MCM owners Randy and Stephanie Leibenguth.

In Helena, authorities were authorized to seize more than $1.3 million from Valley Bank accounts held by Montana Cannabis and the Montana Caregivers Association, plus a Mountain West Bank account with $463,749 in the name of Joshua Schultz of Natural Medicine.

In Kalispell, authorities were authorized to seize $653,550 in a Glacier Bank account belonging to Four Seasons Gardening.

More than 4,800 medical marijuana providers and more than 28,000 patients are registered in Montana.

Another concern is the lists of patients from the providers.

"I know patients' names was a sensitive thing. I don't know for sure if they even seized the lists," Francis said.

Francis declined to comment further, stating that the only information she could comment on was in a press release issued Tuesday.


News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: helenair.com
Author: Angela Brandt
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: helenair.com
Website: No charges yet in medical cannabis raid
 
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