Marijuana bust: Richard Caleel among group accused of using MMJ as cover for illicit pot ring

richard caleel mug shot cropped.JPG
Big pics below.
North Metro Drug Task Force Commander Jerry Peters has long argued that criminals are abusing Colorado's medical marijuana system -- and now he's got more evidence go back up his contention. The Colorado Attorney General's Office, working with the NMDTF, has just announced a major bust featuring multiple arrests and the seizure of 110 pounds of processed cannabis, nearly 700 plants, assorted firearms and $175,000 in cash.

The indictment, on view below in its entirety, contends that conspirators -- including Richard Caleel, pictured above -- hid behind Colorado's medical marijuana laws. Here's an excerpt:

Between the dates of January 1, 2010, through December 10, 2010, Richard G. Caleel, Lakshman N. Garin, Buck Glanz, Magin Gomez, Micah Krout, and Clayton McCann operated a criminal enterprise in which they collectively cultivated marijuana plants at various locations throughout Northern Colorado. After harvesting these plants, the members of the group then processed and packaged the marijuana for future distribution in Colorado and New Mexico. The members of the group maintained three packets of identical photocopied marijuana registry application records, which they ultized as a "cover" for their wholly illegal operation.

On this page, find photos of seized marijuana and cash, as well as a press release from the Colorado Attorney General's Office summarizing the case. On the next one, check out large mug shots of Caleel and other defendants, as well as the aforementioned indictment:

DrugRingPhoto1.JPG

DrugRingPhoto2.JPG

DrugRingPhoto3.JPG
Colorado Attorney General's Office release:

Attorney General announces indictment of drug-distribution operation that tried to use state medical marijuana system as a cover

DENVER -- Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office, in conjunction with the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force, has shut down a marijuana-distribution ring that used state-issued medical marijuana records in an attempt to conceal its distribution of large quantities of marijuana to non-patients in northern Colorado and New Mexico between December 2009 and December 2010.

"This case, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to Coloradans who have been concerned that there is a nexus between Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry and illegal distribution of the drug," Suthers said. "This case counters the contention among marijuana advocates and some public officials that a regulated medical marijuana system will undercut the illicit market for marijuana."

According to the indictment obtained by the Office of the Attorney General, Richard G. Caleel (DOB: 5/18/1976), Lakshman N. Garin (DOB: 1/25/1982), Buck Glanz (DOB: 9/26/1982), Magin Gomez (DOB: 11/2/1980), Micah Krout (DOB: 6/9/1981), Clayton McCann (DOB: 8/1/1982) and Laura Vanwormer (DOB: 9/30/1966) produced the marijuana in Erie, Fort Collins, Longmont and Westminster. According to the indictment, Charles Whitson (DOB: 1/23/1982) and Austin Leard (DOB: 10/21/1981) are suspected of selling the marijuana.

The drug ring is suspected of using packets of photocopied patient records as a cover for their operation. According to the indictment, the grow operations intended to use the records to convince law enforcement they were caregivers acting in compliance with Colorado's medical marijuana laws. Investigators learned that the suspects came to Colorado from New Mexico to use the state's medical marijuana laws as a cover.

"This case reflects a growing trend in Colorado of individuals and organized groups of individuals growing high grade marijuana under the guise of Amendment 20 and blatantly distributing it to anyone willing to pay their price," said Sgt. Gary Shaklee of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. "As is the case with all drug dealers, this is about greed, plain and simple. Much of the marijuana in this case was knowingly transported out of state where it is resold for as much as $7,000 per pound."

The Northern Colorado Drug Task Force and the Office of the Attorney General seized more than 110 pounds of processed marijuana worth an estimated $375,000, 687marijuana plants, during its investigation as well as nine firearms and $175,000 in cash.

Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General and the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office will present the case against the defendants in Jefferson County District Court.

Page down to read the indictment and see booking photos.

My Voice Nation Help
5 comments
pressmess
pressmess

Drug Cartel??? Your reporter is doing a great job at villianizing these people before trial.The only laws they broke where not running the Medical Marijunia business correctly. Fine them and drop criminal charges.There is enough problems with REAL drug Cartels in the U.S.I dont believe these people were cutting distributers heads off.Please spend our tax dollars on violent criminals and drug dealers selling Death.Why is there no picture of the 44 yr old Woman?She is not indicated as arressted either.

Starter
Starter

Courage, Liberty, Guns and Weed I've often been told that when you're giving a speech — if all you get is applause and cheers — and you never piss anyone off — you're no better than a low-life politician, because you're not challenging anyone's conventional mode of thought. Hopefully, I get at least a few eyebrows raised here in my 8—9 short minutes….

So let's start out with the easy stuff, ok? I'm a tenther. That means I believe that the federal government should exercise only those powers that we the people delegated to it in the constitution — and nothing more. For example, no Obamacare mandates, no bank bailouts, and definitely no federal gun laws — period.

Question. How many people here own a gun, or manufacture or sell guns?

And how many of you are proud felons — meaning, when the government makes rules to restrict your right to keep and bear arms, you simply ignore them because they don't have the authority to do so?

HEMPCON

I recently went to an event called Hemp Con down in my part of the state — Los Angeles. This is a big event at the LA convention center — with loads of vendors and businesses from every angle you can think of in support of the marijuana industry. There were home security companies to help protect your weed, solar power companies to help you grow your weed, doctors giving out medical marijuana cards to virtually anyone with $80 and an hour of time. There were even delivery services — you can get your marijuana delivered to you 24 hours a day…in 30 minutes or less. The pizza companies have nothing on these guys! It was amazing if you think about it from an economic standpoint — this was capitalism, the free market — working its wonders around an industry.

What's the point?

Virtually EVERY single one of those businesses was either directly violating federal law, or aiding someone else in doing so because marijuana is illegal, according to the feds — but not the constitution — in all situations. In 2003, Tommy Chong was arrested for merely selling pieces of glass — pipes that could be used to smoke marijuana. And today, 7 years later, we've got what seemed to be the WalMart of weed in Downtown Los Angeles. And guess what — no ATF or DEA thugs shut the place down. Business functioned, people did what they wanted to in freedom, and that was that.

FREEDOM TO TRAVEL

Another quick story.

In 2005, the Bush administration got the REAL ID act passed, which was — in the eyes of many — a new form of a national ID card. We were warned that if this act wasn't followed, people wouldn't be able to travel, enter federal buildings, get on planes, and the like.

Much of my girlfriend's family lives in Missouri, a state that's not in compliance with the Real ID act. Her relatives do a little traveling from time to time. They get on airplanes and show their non-compliant Missouri driver's license. No federal agents stop them and prevent them from boarding a plane.

Well, most state DL's — including those in Missouri — don't comply with the Real ID Act. That law is still on the books in DC — it's never been repealed. It's never been challenged in court either. But — due to 25 states refusing to comply with the “law” — in much of the country that Real ID act is virtually null and void.

Here in California, the state always seems to be on its knees, begging the feds for something. Well, except on marijuana. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that state medical marijuana laws were illegal. At that time there were 10 states that had such laws. Do you know how many were repealed? Zero. And today, there's 14 states defying Washington DC, and getting away with it.

Today, we see the Firearms Freedom Act movement growing along these lines — it's already passed in 8 states. Following that lead, 5 states have passed laws saying no to Obamacare mandates too.

THE LESSON

What's the lesson? This is the blueprint — when enough people say no to unconstitutional laws, regulations….and mandates….and enough states pass laws to back those people up — there's not much the federal government can do, but slowly and consistently back off. There's no tanks rolling into Los Angeles to shut down the dispensaries, and there's no jack-booted thugs forcing people to get new driver's licenses in Missouri. This is far from perfect, but it can work, and it is working right now.

So here's the final question — and the big challenge to you today.

The next time you begrudgingly follow some federal “law” that restricts your right to keep and bear arms — or the next time you hear about a gun rights case that will be decided in 2, or 4, or 6 years — with the hope that some judge will give you permission to exercise your rights, ask yourself this question:

Do you….gun rights activists….have as much courage as the pot smokers?

For the sake of liberty — I hope you do — because I believe that we the people need to exercise our rights whether they the government wants to give us “permission” to or not!

Robert
Robert

Suthers and the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force are blood-sucking parasites on our society. We would be far better off were they serving long prison terms than wasting our taxes preying on gardeners like Mr. Caleel, who grow a valuable and beneficial crop. If you are called to serve on a jury, remember that you can vote to acquit those who,, like these defendants are accused of breaking unjust laws, without fear of retribution.

guest
guest

Were these guys legal, before HB 1284 shut out all the caregivers? Not the first story of guys who couldn't bring themselves to shut down a lucrative operation once they had it up and running.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...