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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, January 18, 2013

Drug Trafficker who Tried to Hide Behind ‘Medical Marijuana Shield’ Sentenced to Prison

Pound Quantities Of Marijuana Sold To Those With No Medical Authorization

            The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary that billed itself as a ‘cooperative’ when it really was just a for profit drug dealing enterprise, was sentenced today to six years in prison and four years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  CRAIG DOUGLAS DIEFFENBACH, 61, an owner of Seattle Cannabis Cooperative with locations in the Rainier Valley and Greenwood, pleaded guilty in August 2012.  His co-defendant, and co-owner, Jing Jing Mo, 31, will be sentenced next month.  At today’s sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman said she rejected the suggestion that he did this to help people, rather she said he saw selling marijuana as a business opportunity.

            “We have made clear that truly sick people and their caregivers will not be targets of our enforcement efforts.  This defendant was neither,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “A green cross in the front window does not grant a license to sell pounds of drugs out the back door.”

According to records filed in the case, DIEFFENBACH admits operating the marijuana stores for profit, selling pound quantities of marijuana to people who presented no medical authorization card.  In her plea agreement, Mo admitted offering to sell 25 pounds of marijuana for distribution across the country.  The couple also admitted laundering funds from the sale of marijuana to pay to modify homes for marijuana production.  The pair were tied in to other drug traffickers including one distributing substantial amounts of ecstacy.

            "Marijuana traffickers continue to have a stranglehold on this state,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes.  "DEA will continue to do what it can to loosen their grip.”

            The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.

Updated March 24, 2015