Marijuana raid: Feds seized 2,500 plants from Cherry Top Farms after following suspect's truck
This morning, the manager of Cherry Top Farms dispensary, raided yesterday by the DEA and other agencies, shared his version of the story, including his claim that the center was in compliance with all state regs. There's nothing to contradict this claim in info supplied by the U.S. Attorney's Office. So why did the feds seize 2,500 plants from the MMC? Because they followed a truck there.
The arrestees thus far are Nathan Do, 21, and his father, Ha Do, 48. Also being sought are Ha's brother Hai Do, 44, and Richard Crosse, 48. The four are charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants. The arraignment of Nathan and Ha Do took place at 2 p.m. today. "They're being held pending a detention hearing, which is scheduled for next Wednesday at 10 a.m.," says U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner. "At that hearing, a judge will determine if they're eligible for bond. And that could be a preliminary hearing as well."
Ha, Nathan and Hai Do are all affiliated with Earth's Medicine, a dispensary on Federal Boulevard; Ha is the general manager, Nathan the cultivator and Hai the owner. As for Crosse, he owns at a warehouse 3885 Forrest where the trio installed a grow operation; he also allegedly invested approximately $325,000 in the operation, purchasing the equipment needed and leasing it back to the Do family.
A logo shared on the Cherry Top Farms Facebook page.
What brought this quartet to the attention of federal authorities? The complaint in the case, on view below, suggests a high degree of cooperation between the DEA and the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. Back in June, authorities zeroed in on a Do grow operation on Forrest, with the Denver Police Department grabbing 1,865 plants -- and the complaint's narrative mentions interviews with DOR personnel, who revealed that the location didn't have a current or pending licensing permit to grow there.
When asked if the feds consulted with the Department of Revenue prior to the June raid, Dorschner says he can't comment.
No arrests were executed at that time; the seizure of the plants and equipment appears to have been the primary punishment. But the following month, a source who'd had business dealings with the Do family began providing information to the DEA and Denver Police. This source doubted the legitimacy of their MMJ business, hinting that the suspects were "grossly under-reporting their marijuana proceeds" and siphoning off weed for sale elsewhere. For instance, when the source spotted several large, unpackaged toy boxes, Nathan allegedly said they were being packed with marijuana and shipped to Chicago.
But something else was just as important to investigators, Dorschner says. "After their equipment was seized and their plants were seized, authorities learned that the Dos and Crosse went right back to the same location" -- that unlicensed, unpermitted 3885 Forrest site -- "and committed the same crime."