Last November, several dispensaries began their day with an aggressive visit from the DEA, most notably Denver dispensary VIP Cannabis. Photos of officers walking past large piles of marijuana dusted in snow and broken windows circulated the Internet. At the time, no official reason was given, pending an ongoing investigation.
It appears the DEA found probable cause to re-enter the Denver marijuana industry this week as four dispensaries were raided early April 30, all of which have been connected to VIP Cannabis.
Gerardo Uribe, the owner of VIP Cannabis, turned himself in on Wednesday and was the last of four men, including his brother Luis Uribe, attorney David Furtado and a Colombian citizen Hector Diaz, indicted on money-laundering charges in connection with the November raids, to appear in court.
“Uribe was led into the courtroom Wednesday afternoon wearing a suit and shackled at his wrists and ankles. After a brief hearing during which he was advised of the charges against him — the most serious of which carries a potential 20-year prison sentence — he was ordered held until Monday, when prosecutors will say whether they want him held longer without bail,” the Denver Post reported.
The most serious of the charges include money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, no allegations have yet to include drug crimes, as was rumored in November. This is second arrest for Hector Diaz in relation to the DEA raids. His first arrest in November and the only arrest made at the time were related to firearms and making false statements to authorities. Diaz is currently out on bail.
VIP Cannabis surprised many by reopening soon after the November raids, last month however, state regulators moved to deny all pending business licenses and put an administrative hold on marijuana owned by the company, meaning VIP could keep its marijuana inventory but were not allowed to move or sell it pending an appeal.
Luis Uribe and David Furtado’s detention hearings are scheduled for May 8.
What do you think about these arrests? Are they in line with the Obama Administration’s policies surrounding legal recreational cannabis? Tell us in the comments below!