Christopher Ryan Durbin Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on March 26, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, CHRISTOPHER RYAN DURBIN, a 33-year-old resident of Oregon/Whitefish, pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and structuring. Sentencing has been set for June 29, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In approximately November 2009, and continuing through March 14, 2011, DURBIN and others were involved in marijuana-growing operations. DURBIN was the head of the distribution network. DURBIN owned and operated several businesses, including Four Seasons Gardening in the Flathead Valley, under the parent company of Salt Springs LLC. Two other business were located next to Four Seasons Gardening - Northern Lights Medical and Good Medicine Providers. Northern Lights Medical was a company where an individual could apply for a Montana medical marijuana patient card and Good Medicine was a medical marijuana dispensary.
The evidence would show that DURBIN was distributing large quantities of marijuana to individuals both inside and outside Montana. A confidential source would have testified to traveling to New York on two occasions and picking up approximately $50,000 in cash after marijuana was delivered there at DURBIN's request.
Additionally, between the dates of December 22, 2010, and January 12, 2011, investigating agents conducted a total of four undercover marijuana purchases from Good Medicine Providers Inc.
On March 14, 2011, search warrants were executed at warehouses located at 115 East Reserve Drive, Kalispell, Montana, and 6065 US Highway 93, Unit 4, Olney, Montana. Over 1,000 marijuana plants were recovered by members of law enforcement. Witnesses would have testified that DURBIN was the source of funding for both warehouses and that the plants were being grown at his request.
In support of the structuring violation the government would have introduced evidence, primarily by way of the testimony of Glacier Bank employees, that DURBIN structured deposits on November 12, 2009, in an attempt to cause the bank to avoid filing a Currency Transaction Report ("CTR"). Specifically, DURBIN deposited approximately $71,900 in 16 cash deposits, ranging from $4,000 to $6,000, none of which individually triggered Glacier Bank's reporting obligation but in a total amount that would have required the bank to file a CTR. The government would have also introduced evidence of statements that DURBIN made - on November 12, 2009, and on other occasions - indicating that he was aware of the bank's obligation to report deposits that exceeded certain monetary thresholds. Finally, the government would have shown that DURBIN's structuring activity occurred while he was conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.
DURBIN faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and 4 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between Homeland Security Investigations and the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force.