Colorado medical marijuana raid charges may involve money laundering – The Denver Post

Colorado marijuana raids

Officers remove evidence from VIP Cannabis in Denver, November 21, 2013. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file photo)

The suspects arrested in connection with the largest-ever federal raids on Colorado’s medical-marijuana industry are expected to appear in court Monday, and one federal court record indicates at least one of the charges involves money laundering.

Months of secrecy surrounding last year’s raids are expected to lift Monday when the indictment against the suspects will be unsealed.

At least two people connected to the raids were arrested on Friday and at least another was indicted, according to records and interviews. Federal prosecutors have confirmed there were arrests Friday, but have not revealed how many or who was arrested.

Denver jail records show that both Luis Uribe and David Furtado, who were named as targets of last November’s raids on more than a dozen medical-marijuana stores and grow facilities, were booked into the city’s Downtown Detention Center on Friday. Both have since been released, according to the records.

While still in custody on Saturday, Luis Uribe declined an interview request from The Denver Post. The booking records do not reveal details about the charges, but note that both Uribe and Furtado were held at the request of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The court case number attached to their hold was the federal criminal case number for Hector Diaz, the only person federal authorities have publicly announced charges against in connection with the raids. Diaz, a citizen of Colombia, was detained during a raid on a Cherry Hills Village home and later charged with a weapons violation.

On Thursday, prosecutors filed several sealed documents in Diaz’s case. On Monday, his case docket sheet had been updated to include new charges of “false statements with respect to a material fact,” “conspiracy to commit money laundering,” and “money laundering and aiding and abetting to do the same.”

In addition, an attorney for Gerardo Uribe, Luis Uribe’s brother, said Friday that Gerardo had been indicted in connection with the raids.

The November raids were the largest ever to hit Colorado’s medical-marijuana industry, and federal agents seized millions of dollars worth of marijuana during the operation.

Sources have told The Post that the raids were searching for connections between legal Colorado dispensaries and Colombian drug cartels. But specific allegations have been kept secret.

Those linked to the raids — including Furtado and Gerardo Uribe — have denied wrongdoing. But state marijuana regulators recently denied the dispensary license applications of most of the raid targets. The businesses were operating with pending license applications under a 4-year-old rule that grandfathered in dispensaries that were open prior to state regulation.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, [email protected] or twitter.com/john_ingold

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