November 15, 2011
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-1162
Advisory Of DEA Enforcement In The Western District Of Washington And Statement Of DEA Special Agent In Charge Matthew G. Barnes
SEATTLE,WASH - Yesterday, Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement executed search warrants in four on-going federal investigations in Western Washington relating to illegal drug distribution and other crimes in violation of federal law. Each of the investigations targets commercial enterprises that purport to operate as “medical” marijuana establishments but also fail to comply with applicable state law.
As set forth in the search warrant affidavits unsealed by the U.S. District Court today, these businesses attracted the attention of federal law enforcement for a number of reasons: their failure to abide by state medical marijuana guidelines; indications that they were distributing large amounts of drugs; and evidence they were laundering large amounts of money. Some of these marijuana stores were the subject of complaints from their surrounding communities as well as medical marijuana supporters, concerned about businesses operating outside the letter and spirit of state law. One operator was arrested this morning for violating the court ordered terms of his federal supervised release for a prior federal conviction.
The following is a statement from Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes:“It has never been our policy to target individuals with serious illnesses. However, there are those operating commercial storefronts cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana under the guise of state medical marijuana laws and exploiting such activities to satisfy their own personal greed. The DEA remains committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances (CSA) in all states . The coordinated enforcement actions of the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) and our state and local law enforcement partners involve violations of both federal and state law. The DEA will exercise its investigative authority to pursue criminal actions for any violation of federal law, when warranted. This includes investigating organizations or individuals that grow, manufacture or distribute any illegal drug to include marijuana, and those who rent or maintain a property to facilitate drug trafficking.”