California Marijuana Dispensary Owner Convicted
AUG 7 - (LOS ANGELES) - United States Attorney Thomas P. O’Brien and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent-in-Charge, Los Angeles Field Division, Timothy J. Landrum announced today that a federal jury returned guilty verdicts late yesterday against Charles C. Lynch of Morro Bay, California. LYNCH was convicted of Conspiracy, Possession with Intent to Distribute, Two Counts of Distribution of Marijuana to a Minor and Maintaining a Drug-Involved Premises. These charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.
Drug Enforcement Administration SAC Timothy J. Landrum said, "Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States, and more young people today are in drug treatment programs for marijuana dependency than any other drug. Since 1992, drug treatment admissions for marijuana dependency have risen to more than 16 percent, up from six percent. The consequences of marijuana use extend far beyond those who abuse and traffic the drug. The outcome of this trial shows that marijuana distribution is a serious offense, with the possibility of long term penalties. DEA and our law enforcement counterparts will not turn a blind eye to flagrant disregard of our nation’s essential drug laws—laws designed to protect our citizens, communities, and children.”
According to the United States Attorney's office, trial testimony and documentary evidence established that Lynch sold more than $2 million worth of marijuana in nine months, which included numerous sales to young people under the age of 21, many of whom were repeat customers. Two specific counts at trial concerned sales by the store to one of Lynch's minor employees. Receipts and the defendant’s own testimony established that the store sold marijuana to this employee numerous times and even gave the employee free marijuana on his 20th birthday.
The indictment and evidence at trial also showed Lynch's employees distributed marijuana on numerous occasions outside of the store, including one instance where the store's chief security officer sold more than $3,000 in marijuana to undercover officers.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 20, 2008.
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