News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Search Warrants Served in Investigation of Marijuana Trafficking and Money laundering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2011

Today, Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement executed search warrants in four ongoing federal investigations in Western Washington relating to illegal drug distribution and other crimes in violation of federal law. Each of the investigations targets commercial enterprises that purport to operate as “medical” marijuana establishments but also fail to comply with applicable state law.

As set forth in the search warrant affidavits unsealed by the U.S. District Court today, these businesses attracted the attention of federal law enforcement for a number of reasons: their failure to abide by state medical marijuana guidelines; indications that they were distributing large amounts of drugs; and evidence they were laundering large amounts of money. Some of these marijuana stores were the subject of complaints from their surrounding communities as well as medical marijuana supporters, concerned about businesses operating outside the letter and spirit of state law. One operator was arrested this morning for violating the court ordered terms of his federal supervised release for a prior federal conviction.

The following is a statement from U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan on the ongoing investigations:

“The activities today and the ongoing investigations are targeted actions consistent with Department of Justice policy and guidelines. Our job is to enforce federal criminal laws. In doing so, we always prioritize and focus our resources. As we have previously stated, we will not prosecute truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment. However, state laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment. In determining how to focus our drug enforcement resources, we will look at the true nature and scope of an enterprise, and its impact on the community. We will continue to target and investigate entities that are large scale commercial drug enterprises, or that threaten public safety in other ways. Sales to people who are not ill, particularly our youth, sales or grows in school zones, and the use of guns in connection with an enterprise all present a danger to our community.”

Those identified in the search warrant affidavits are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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