Multiple marijuana businesses being raided by DEA, IRS, Denver cops

Categories: Marijuana

dea.raid.205x205.jpg
A DEA raid in 2010.
Updates below: Westword has learned that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration is conducting raids at this writing at multiple marijuana businesses in the Denver area.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver has issued a statement confirming the ongoing operation, which is being conducted by the DEA in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service and the Denver Police Department. Our sources tell us it's likely to continue throughout the day and involves a notable number of targets.

The statement -- issued by Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Walsh, who's been designated to speak for the assorted agencies involved -- is shy of details. Moreover, Dorschner declines to elaborate on it.

john.walsh.flag.jpg
U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
However, we've been told a tip received in the Westword newsroom this morning about forty sites being targeted is too high. A closer estimate: fewer that twenty.

Dorschner's statement begins like so: "The Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Denver Police Department and state and local law enforcement are today executing lawfully obtained search warrants and seizure warrants."

Such actions would seem to contradict a late August memo issued under the name of Deputy Attorney General James Cole, which stated that the federal government would allow states like Colorado to move forward with marijuana laws even if they contradicted federal policy.

This apparent disconnect is addressed in what's described as an "important note" in the statement. It reads: "Although we cannot at this time discuss the substance of this pending investigation, the operation under way today comports with the Department's recent guidance regarding marijuana enforcement matters."

The statement's final word? "As this is an on-going investigation, no additional information will be made available."

The line above does not include an estimate of if or when such info will be forthcoming. But as we learn more, we'll share it with you.

Update number one, 11:15 a.m.: Rumors are flying about targets of the federal raids described above, with reliable sources within the scene citing VIP Wellness among other locations. Also mentioned was Cherry Top Farms, from which the feds took an estimated 2,500 plants back in October 2011 and didn't immediately allow to reopen -- so it's possible this is a reference to the location rather than the original business.

We've also debunked several reports about closures. But we now know that the raids have gone beyond Denver: Swiss Medical in Boulder has also been hit.

However, there's little doubt there's something going on at marQaha, 3896 Morrison Road. Here's a photo that was sent our way.

marqaha.jpg
Update number two, 12:41 p.m.: A Westword staffer just got off the phone with the owner of Swiss Medical, and what he had to say sheds interesting light on the ongoing DEA raids of marijuana operations. According to the owner, the raid was prompted by one person among multiple tenants using its space -- but the plants belong to everyone were seized.

cherry.top.farms.2011.jpg
A Cherry Top Farms image from 2011.
The reason is undoubtedly the same as the rationale for taking all the plants from Cherry Top Farms back in 2011 -- an event noted above. As U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner told us at the time, agents actually followed suspects to Cherry Top Farms, which was in compliance with state rules. But because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, federal law enforcers are required to seize weed whenever and wherever they encounter it.

Hence, all the Swiss Medical tenants lost their plants, even though only one of them was on the feds' radar.

Update number three, 1:44 p.m.: Just received another marijuana business raid photo, this one from South Jason Street in Denver. As you can see, cannabis has simply been tossed outside.

marijuana.raid.photo.jpg
Update number four, 2:13 p.m.: Although U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner stated earlier that no additional information would be released in regard to federal raids on marijuana businesses, he has just issued a clarification to the earlier remarks shared above. The new line reads: "While the investigation is ongoing, there are strong indications that more than one of the eight federal prosecution priorities identified in the Department of Justice's August guidance memo are potentially implicated."

We referred above to the August memo. Here's the list of eight federal priorities:

• Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors;

• Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels;

• Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;

• Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity;

• Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana;

• Preventing drugged riving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;

• Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands; and

• Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive circa August 29: "Marijuana: Obama administration will not sue to stop Amendment 64."

My Voice Nation Help
423 comments
Nlvhd
Nlvhd

Just wondering if any of those names the dor leaked a couple months ago were any of those people being harassed in the recent raids.

MsMedicinal
MsMedicinal

Now back to enjoying the good life .....The Rocky Mountain High.

With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas just a puff and a cough away ...its time to find the absolutely most gorgeous ..fluffy ... Boulder Buds available.

Seriously ... this year I plan on opening up one of those factory-sealed pineapple aluminum cans packed with Hawaiian Kona.  I bought five @ $400 an ounce in 1973...in the open air market known then as Washington Park. That year there were Thai Sticks, Panama Red, Colombian, and fresh organically grown Mushrooms perfect for cruising over the Continental Divide. With a designated Driver of course ...

I don't understand what all the fuss is about now .... there has never been a problem finding whatever you need or want ....in Colorado


Maat Human
Maat Human

shoot back stoners.. peace loving hippies.. passive non violent suckers...

Lewrie Long
Lewrie Long

We should worry more about the Mexican Border and take down the drug cartel ! What happened you the government said you would not go after our states ???? How many more lies can we get ?

Andy Rohrer
Andy Rohrer

This is just the beginning in the government crackdown on fun. Soon, they'll be shutting down Lakeside, Water World, Putt-Putt and Casa Bonita.

MsMedicinal
MsMedicinal

This is no loss to the Colorado Medical Marijuana Community. This warehouse supplied the Golden Goat Dispensary on east Colfax which never produced any strains of any merit.

This was just a Cash Cow that needed to be shut down. Colorado dispensary owners continue to perform above the line regardless of what the naysayers hope for. 

There's never a dull moment in Colorado. The next crucial phase for dispensary owners will be customer initiated. Too many dispensaries are ripping off patients with low quality medicine.

There will be substantial repercussions for those dispensaries that lure patients in with false claims and fail to test their products. Just because a business is legitimate does not automatically guarantee success. 

Westwortd & Weed Maps advertisers consistently "bait & switch" to lure in unwary patients.

Example#1

LaConte's on 7th Ave in Denver (Nov 20, 2013)

Advertises a $10 Eight ANY STRAIN for 1st time patients all strains . When patients come in they are told they cannot purchase Private Reserve Strains. 

When presented with ad Budtender concedes.

LaConte's also offers a $25 Ounce for New Members. Those who have purchased an ounce report that Meds have no potency ..regrets becoming Member ..flushed the Warehouse Weed down the toilet.

 Shame on you LaConte's ...Clean up your act ...get a new grower & new strains. Be honest and fair with your advertising, treat your patients with care ...and know your Market.

Tier Level pricing and the lack of Certified Lab Testing is a tell tell sign of a dispensary that is playing games and has no confidence in its medicine. 

Highly potent, organically grown, and mold free Cannabis is available throughout the METRO AREA. for $25 an Eight and $99 an ounce any day.

Do Not become overly comfortable with your Hot Budtender because she smiles at you ..she smiles at everyone. MMJ crops are grown and cured in cycles and it is rare for any dispensary to consistently produce exceptional grows..although many are becoming proficient.

It will only get better going forward...


..

sucka1
sucka1

i think we're winning.  Yay!

fognl7
fognl7

McShyster/Donkeyhotay/etc.

(questions sometimes get lost in the myvoicenation/livefyre eddies, so I'm re-posting)

Do you think it should be legal for anyone to purchase marijuana from a store?  I'm not asking about A64 or propAA.  This is not a trick question.

I look forward to reading your straightforward reply.

P.S., I'm not asking about whether or not you think it is wise, but if it should be legal.


FEDUpWithPunkz
FEDUpWithPunkz

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The federal government has ZERO respect for state's rights or for the citizen's of Colorado that overwhelmingly voted for marijuana to be legal. The feds want Coloradans to know that they can come into your legally operated business anytime they want and terrorize you with their guns.....This is SOP for government agencies now-a-days...No surprise here.

fognl7
fognl7

McShyster aka StupidStuka aka DonkeyHotay aka etc.,

Do you think it should be legal for anyone to purchase marijuana from a store?  I'm not asking about A64 or propAA.  This is not a trick question.

I look forward to reading your straightforward reply.


nickandalex
nickandalex

@MsMedicinal Four hundred an ounce in 73? It was $20 an oz for everything except Afghan and Thai Stick, which was $40 an ounce in 1975 in the mid-west. Afghan at that time was the best you could get if you were lucky enough to find it, I've haven't had anything that great in a very,very, long time. 

markymark2112
markymark2112

@MsMedicinal You paid $400.00 an ounce in 1973 and you bought 4 at once? Wow that is huge expensive. Top, top quality from the mid 80's even was $100.00 where I grew up.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@Lewrie Long 

HipTip: the Greedy Big $$ Dispensary Pigs = the Drug Cartels

hth.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

@fognl7 I think it sould be legal for anyone to trade marijuana to anyone else with compinsation, monitary or other.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7 ... the lying liars who wrote A64 and the tools and fools who supported and voted for it do NOT think it should be legal for anyone to purchase pot from a store ... in fact they deliberately and explicitly excluded the demographic group that suffers the most marijuana arrests and prosecutions -- all those under 21 years old.

Do you think it should be legal for any drug criminal to own or operate a marijuana store?



CommonSense
CommonSense

@FEDUpWithPunkz This isn't a States Rights issue and never has been, stop being ignorant. The state has no right here to do what it did in the first place. The Federal Government has chosen not to enforce it's drug statutes within our borders. 

It's a "legally" operated business in the sense that Colorado has to allow it. This says nothing about the Federal Government, which still considers your product, and your trade, illegal. 

Did it ever occur to you that these business weren't being busted for marijuana? Has it ever occurred to you that they could have been doing something else illegal?

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@FEDUpWithPunkz ... A64 did NOT legalize marijuana in Colorado, not even close.

A64 did NOT repeal a single Felony statute in Colorado.

A64 did NOT repeal a single Misdemeanor statute in Colorado.

A64 explicitly EXCLUDED every ADULT under 21 from ANY legal protection.

The citizens of Colorado overwhelmingly voted for a CONTINUATION of CRIMINAL PROHIBITION of Marijuana, with STRICT REGULATIONS and MASSIVE TAXES added for fun!

hth.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7 ... what fools would ever purchase overpriced, overtaxed, government controlled warehouse schwag from a greedy big $$ dispensary cartel store?


fognl7
fognl7

I asked if YOU think buying marijuana from a store should be legal.

FEDUpWithPunkz
FEDUpWithPunkz

@CommonSense @FEDUpWithPunkz Many states and their citizens would disagree with your absurd notion of federal supremacy over the nation. The Constitution 'clearly' outlines it's intent to keep the powers of the government limited....If you read it it is crystal clear in it's intent.....If you don't like it North Korea is taking applications....We have heard the 'doing something illegal' song and dance before.....EVERYTHING these guys do is illegal in federal eyes......

BradM
BradM

@.McShyster. A64 also did not restrict any state or local law enforcement from helping the DEA in its investigations. Hell, the Denver Police Department was on the scene holding the door open for the feds as they carried out boxes of files and evidence from VIP dispenary today.

 If A64 authors had wanted to curtail police action, they could easily have done so. Instead, they highlight their pro-law enforcement agenda in the very first section of Section 16 of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution, "In the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources..."

A64 granted citizens no rights, instead giving complete authority to the government.

BradM
BradM

@.McShyster. Didn't Prop. AA guarantee full funding to "enforce legalization"? This is what stoners voted for, by 65% statewide -- full enforcement of strict legalization. The state Dept. of Revenue is too worthless, so the feds had to come in. Guess the feds should be getting all the state tax money, not the DOR. They couldn't even spot an international jewel thief when he applied for a MMJ worker badge. LOLOL!

fognl7
fognl7

McShyster et. al., 

You forgot to answer my question.  Again,  do you think it should be legal for anyone to purchase marijuana from a store?  I'm not asking about A64 or propAA.  This is not a trick question.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

@fognl7 You'll never get a straight answer.  But it's no, he grows his own shitty weed and this cut's into his business.

HTH

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

@.McShyster. @BradM And you're idea was what?  Whine about it for the next 80 years until something might happen?  You're just a bitter individual who's pissed off that you're not on the front line of the legalization battle and so you criticize every little thing.  Jagoff.

HTH

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@BradM

What IDIOTS would BEG the GOVERNMENT to strictly REGULATE and massively TAX anything they actually cared about?


.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@BradM

MMED: Name ?

Thug: Tony Montana

DoR: Here's your badge,



GuestWho
GuestWho

@fognl7

Sell alcohol to a minor and it's a class 2 misdemeanor, sell marijuana accidentally to a minor and it's a felony at the state and federal level.  Transfer one single gram to a minor and at the state level it's a mandatory minimum of 4 years in jail plus 1 to 3 years....and at the federal level you're looking at 10 years in prison.  Who wants that kind of risk?  Don't fuck up ever dispensaries....one tiny mistake and you will get railroaded by the feds.  With convoluted marijuana laws and regs it's just a matter of time before each store finds themselves in legal troubles.  Why would anyone be stupid enough to open a dispensary under the present marijuana laws?

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7 ... Colorado voters -- via A64 -- explicitly and deliberately declared that it should NOT be, and is NOT LEGAL for ANY ADULT under 21 to purchase recreational marijuana from a store.

Not a SINGLE GRAM, under CRIMINAL PENALTY of law.

hth.

fognl7
fognl7

@.McShyster.

Not sure where my comment went, but I'll try to post again:

Please tell me if you think it should be legal to purchase marijuana from a store.  To avoid confusion, please understand that I'm not asking about your opinion on the wisdom of doing so, but rather, the legality.

 Thank you.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7 ... why would you purchase marijuana from a store?

Too lazy or too stupid to grow your own?

.

fognl7
fognl7

@.McShyster.

Not interested in games.  Again:

Do you think it should be legal for anyone to purchase marijuana from a store?  I'm not asking about A64 or propAA.  This is not a trick question. 

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7

Do you think the clueless stoners and greedy big $$ dispensary pigs should receive the dual FISTS of REGULATION and TAXATION they begged and voted for?

Lubed or dry dock?


fognl7
fognl7

@.McShyster.

I'm not trying to stimulate you, I just want you to clarify.  Yet again:

Do you think it should be legal for anyone to purchase marijuana from a store?  I'm not asking about A64 or propAA.  This is not a trick question.

BradM
BradM

@.McShyster. I will only support feet-picking on Wednesdays between 4pm and 7pm. I would support no more than 6 PICKS per DAY, with only 3 PICKS per day being on or near the big toe. I would not support any feet picking at all on the West Side of town, as we all know what those river rats are like if you let them run wild with no regulation.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7 ... your question is inane and irrelevant ... typical for a brain-dead bong-sucking stoner like you.


fognl7
fognl7

Please just answer the question.  Thank you.

.McShyster.
.McShyster.

@fognl7  a more relevant question would be -- 

Do you think it should be legal for anyone to pick their feet in Poughkeepsie ?

Be specific.


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