Judge Orders DEA To Keep Seized Marijuana Plants


Photo: 9News
DEA agents bag and remove marijuana plants from the home of Chris Bartkowicz during their February 12 raid of his home

​A federal judge ruled Friday that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must keep 10 marijuana plants with roots along with 10 clone starts taken from a medical marijuana grower while he awaits trial on drug charges.

Joseph Saint-Velktri, attorney for defendant Chris Bartkowicz, appeared in federal court Friday morning after filing a motion which asks the federal government to preserve all of the plants taken from Bartkowicz’s home last week, reports Nicole Vap Jace Larson at 9News.
DEA agents brought into the courtroom a box of the marijuana taken from Bartkowicz’s home to show the state of the plants. The marijuana shown in court still had its root system, and appeared wilted but not dried.

Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz’s TV appearance led to the loss of his freedom and all his plants

​Bartkowicz’s lawyer admitted to the magistrate judge that the plants are past the point of being “maintained” but he still asked the court to “retain” some of the plants as evidence to be tested by experts.
Federal officials said Bartkowicz had 224 plants in various stages at his Highlands Ranch, Colorado home.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney David Gaouette said his office and the DEA would follow the judge’s orders.
Gaouette claimed Bartkowicz wasn’t following Colorado’s medical rules, in addition to violating federal law, under which all marijuana use and possession is illegal.
Bartkowicz, who has a medical marijuana license, said each plant he grew was medically necessary for him or his patients.
On Thursday, the same magistrate judge agreed to a $10,000 cash bond and home confinement for Bartkowicz. He has been in custody since the February 12 DEA bust.
The judge said Bartkowicz will not be released to home confinement until the set-up of a home monitoring system is complete.
Bartkowicz, whose home was raided after he bragged on TV about his basement marijuana garden and his expected $400,000 profits this year, is charged with one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a $2 million fine if convicted.
Under the terms of his release pending trial, Bartkowicz must “seek employment,” refrain from alcohol and marijuana, submit to urinalysis drug testing and go through “drug abuse counseling.”
A trial date has not been set.