u.S. attorney's Office announces a federal forfeiture action against a marijuana warehouse and related marijuana funds
DENVER -- Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh announced today that his office has filed in United States District Court in Denver a civil forfeiture complaint seeking forfeiture of a Denver area marijuana warehouse and illegally connected funds. The forfeiture case stems from a criminal case indicted by a state-wide grand jury that returned indictments that were ultimately prosecuted in Jefferson County.
As revealed by the Verified Complaint, in the Summer of 2012, the Criminal Tax Enforcement Section of the Colorado Department of Revenue, subsequently joined by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), initiated an investigation into an illegal marijuana growing and distribution operation based in a warehouse at 5105 East 39th Avenue in Denver. Investigators determined that the Warehouse produced hundreds of pounds of processed marijuana, and then illegally distributed the drugs to several retail marijuana stores in the metropolitan area in violation of Colorado and Federal law.
The investigation resulted in a Colorado State Grand Jury Indictment charging numerous individuals and entities with 71 counts of drug, tax, and fraud violations of Colorado state law; 8 guilty pleas have been entered, and several cases remain pending in the Jefferson County, Colorado District Court. The individuals involved in the Drug Trafficking Organization utilized various Limited Liability Companies to hold ownership of the assets, and utilized various bank accounts to buy and equip the Warehouse, fund the operations, and receive the illegal proceeds. In addition to the warehouse, the Complaint seeks forfeiture of over $850,000 in seized funds that are the proceeds of the illegal operation, which were used to promote the illegal operation, and which were involved in money laundering.
According to the indictment referred to above, and other information from state authorities, the underlying case involves out of state diversion of marijuana, fraud on investors, false reporting to state law enforcement and regulatory authorities, filing of false and incomplete tax returns, and other broad-scale criminal activity that necessitated action to protect and enforce federal priorities as outlined in the Department of Justice’s marijuana enforcement guidance published on August 29, 2013.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to engage in focused enforcement of violations of federal law as it pertains to marijuana, and to work closely with our local and state law enforcement partners,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “In this case, the warehouse and money that is the subject of this forfeiture action were proceeds of an illegal scheme perpetrated by certain individuals who were not only violating federal law, they were violating Colorado state law, as is demonstrated by the guilty pleas obtained in Jefferson County.”