Author Topic: Feds Step Up Efforts in Wake of Colorado MMJ ...  (Read 1819 times)

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Offline laughingwillow

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Feds Step Up Efforts in Wake of Colorado MMJ ...
« on: February 13, 2010, 11:00:08 AM »
I read the initial story in the Denver Post the other day when they interviewed the grower in question. While I was surprised to see the guy so out in the open concerning his operation, I figured times must have changed. But two days later dude got popped by the feds.

Owner who bragged of large medical-pot operation jailed in DEA raid
By John Ingold
The Denver Post
POSTED: 02/13/2010 01:00:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 02/13/2010 01:42:48 AM MST

Federal drug-enforcement agents Friday raided the home of a Highlands Ranch man who a day earlier bragged in a 9News report about the large and profitable medical-marijuana-growing operation in his basement.

Along with the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, the Drug Enforcement Administration's special agent in charge of the Denver office, sent a message to anyone involved in Colorado's increasingly profitable medical-marijuana industry.

"It's still a violation of federal law," Sweetin said. "It's not medicine. We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people."

Agents at the scene Friday evening said the marijuana grower, Chris Bartkowicz, had been taken into custody. Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S.

(The Denver Post)
attorney's office in Denver, said the grower would be held over the long Presidents Day weekend before a decision on charges is made Tuesday.
"The U.S. attorney's office will review the evidence the DEA collected before we make a determination whether we will prosecute," Dorschner said.

DEA agents converged on the house Friday afternoon and, before leaving several hours later, removed dozens of marijuana plants in black plastic trash bags as well as numerous high-powered growing lights.

On Thursday night, 9News promoted a story about Bartkowicz's operation, and on Friday morning, Bartkowicz was featured in a 9News story posted to its website and published in The Denver Post. The story was to air on television Friday night. He told the station he serves as a caregiver to a number of medical-marijuana patients and hoped to turn a profit this year in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I'm definitely living the dream now," Bartkowicz told 9News.

One block from school

That story — coupled with the proximity of Bartkowicz's home to Sand Creek Elementary School, a block away — drew the attention of DEA agents.

A memo in October from Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden said federal agents should not target people in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The memo led many in Colorado's medical-marijuana community to believe that federal agents would no longer raid medical-marijuana dispensaries or growers.

But Sweetin said the memo does nothing to change federal law, which makes marijuana illegal, and instead mostly addresses treatment of medical-marijuana patients and small-scale growers.

"Prosecution of commercial enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana for profit continues to be an enforcement priority of the department," the memo states.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068 or
Lost my boots in transit, babe,
smokin\' pile of leather.
Nailed a retread to my feet
and prayed for better weather...