SEP 27 (HONOLULU) – Defendants Roger Cusick Christie, age 64, and Sherryanne L. Christie, age 62, husband and wife, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard L. Puglisi to marijuana trafficking and tax offenses. Roger Christie pled guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, involving 100 or more marijuana plants and two separate tax counts for failure to file federal income tax returns for calendar years 2008 and 2009. Sherryanne Christie pled guilty to conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, involving 50 or more marijuana plants. Roger Christie is set to be sentenced on January 22, 2014 and Sherryanne Christie is set to be sentenced on January 27, 2014, before United States District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said, “this prosecution demonstrated the effectiveness of cooperative efforts among federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities in addressing persistent, significant illegal drug trafficking activity.”
According to information produced to the court:
At the time of sentencing, Roger Christie faces up to 20 years imprisonment on the marijuana charge, with a mandatory minimum term of five years. The maximum term of imprisonment on each tax offense is one year. Sherryanne Christie can receive up to 20 years imprisonment. The Christies also agreed to forfeit to the United States $21,494 in U.S. currency (proceeds from their marijuana distribution activities), and a condominium apartment in Hilo owned by Roger Christie (which was used to facilitate their marijuana trafficking activities).
Under the terms of the plea agreement, both Christies have reserved their right to seek appellate review of the District Court’s denial of four pretrial motions, including one asking the Court to find that enforcement of marijuana trafficking laws against them constituted a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). District Judge Kobayashi denied all four of the Christies’ pretrial motions, ruling that enforcement of federal marijuana trafficking laws against the Christies was not a violation of RFRA. The court ordered Roger Christie’s continued detention pending sentencing; Sherryanne Christie remained released on bond.
The prosecution resulted from the combined efforts from 2008-2010 of the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; the National Park Service; the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Public Safety; the Hawaii Police Department; and the Honolulu Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael K. Kawahara.