Jan 7, 2011 2:49 PM by James H Egbert

Colo-New Mexico drug ring busted

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers provided a press release statement today that his office, working in conjunction with the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force, has made a major bust of a marijuana-distribution ring. The drug ring used state-issued medical marijuana records in an attempt to conceal its distribution of large quantities of marijuana. The marijuana was distributed to non-patients through-out northern Colorado and New Mexico between December 2009 and December 2010.

"This case, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to Coloradans who have been concerned that there is a nexus between Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry and illegal distribution of the drug," Suthers said. "This case counters the contention among marijuana advocates and some public officials that a regulated medical marijuana system will undercut the illicit market for marijuana."

The drug ring is suspected of using photocopied patient records as a cover for their operation. According to the indictment, the grow operations intended to use the records in an attempt convince law enforcement they were legal caregivers acting in compliance with Colorado's medical marijuana laws.

During the investigation, it was learned that suspects, Richard G. Caleel, Lakshman N. Garin, Buck Glanz, Magin Gomez, Micah Krout, Clayton McCann, Charles Whitson and Austin Leard came to Colorado from New Mexico to use the state's medical marijuana laws as a cover.

"This case reflects a growing trend in Colorado of individuals and organized groups of individuals growing high grade marijuana under the guise of Amendment 20 and blatantly distributing it to anyone willing to pay their price," said Sgt. Gary Shaklee of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. "As is the case with all drug dealers, this is about greed, plain and simple. Much of the marijuana in this case was knowingly transported out of state where it is resold for as much as $7,000 per pound."

Attorney General John Suthers said that his office, along with the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force has seized more than 110 pounds of processed marijuana worth an estimated $375,000, 687marijuana plants, during its investigation as well as nine firearms and $175,000 in cash.



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