|Graphic: North End Club 420|
Pierce County, Washington prosecutors have dismissed numerous marijuana charges filed last year against two men who run a Tacoma medical marijuana cooperative, North End Club 420.
Guy Lewis Casey and Michael Jonathan Schaef — who operate the dispensary on Oregon Avenue in Tacoma — had been scheduled for trial in April, reports Adam Lynn at the Tacoma News Tribune.
Paperwork dismissing the case was filed Tuesday by deputy prosecutor Jennifer L. Sievers, who said that after “further investigation” she had “doubts as to the veracity” of a confidential informant who gave information to police.
“The informant was the basis for this investigation and is an essential witness for the state,” Sievers wrote in court papers.
|Photo: KOMO News|
|Guy Casey, North End Club 420: All charges dismissed|
Prosecutors after a raid last May charged Casey, 49, with two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of unlawful possession of controlled substance and unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance.
Schaef, 48, was charged with three counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance.
Prosecutors claimed the men sold marijuana to people not authorized to have it, kept a larger supply on hand than allowed by law, and charged exorbitant prices for the pot to enrich themselves.
Much of the case was based on the testimony of the confidential informant of admitted doubtful veracity, who claimed to have witnessed such behavior.
Agents with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET) raided North End Club 420 and two homes in May after receiving a tip from that informant, infamously handcuffing one boy and taking money from the Mickey Mouse wallet of a little girl.
“The club appears to be making thousands of dollars in unreported tax-free income from selling drugs to persons who may not qualify and profiting from taking advantage of those who have a legitimate and authorized medical need to use marijuana,” WestNET claimed in a fact-challenged news release issued at the time of the raids.
During the raid last May, WestNET detectives handcuffed the Caseys’ 14-year-old son for two hours and put a gun to his head, according to Guy Casey’s wife, Christine Casey.
They also told the frightened kid to “say goodbye” to his dad, because they said the pot dispensary operator was “going to prison.” Mrs. Casey said the cops claimed they handcuffed the boy “to keep him safe” as they questioned Guy Casey and several friends who were visiting.
As the Rambo-wanna-be detectives trashed the home looking for cash, trying to prove the dispensary was illegally profiting from medical marijuana, Mrs. Casey said they took $80 that her nine-year-old daughter had received for a straight-A report card.
The gung-ho drug WestNET detectives found the money in the little girl’s Mickey Mouse wallet. Fortunately, the child wasn’t present in the house to see how WestNET gets down — she didn’t witness the theft of her Mickey Mouse wallet and 80 bucks. She had already gone to school when the detectives arrived around 8:30 a.m.
Mrs. Casey said the cops dumped out all her silverware, punched a hole in the wall, and broke her appliances for good measures. She said they also finger-wrote “I Sell Pot” in the dust covering the family’s Hummer — which the cops then seized.
WestNET, notorious in the Puget Sound area for its hostility to and abuses of medical marijuana patients, is a federally funded task force comprised of officers from multiple jurisdictions.
Casey and Schaef have been out on bail since the charges were filed.
Casey’s lawyer, Aaron Pelley of Seattle, said his client is happy to have the case dismissed.
“It’s been our position all along that they had a bad [informant],” Pelley said. “My client wasn’t going to take a deal. We intended to go to trial.”
Schaef told the News Tribune he’s happy Prosecutor Sievers “saw through the lies” of the informant. He also criticized hapless and credulous WestNET detectives for basing their case on one unreliable man’s reports.
The investigation caused both men serious financial and emotional hardships, he said.
The cooperative never shut down after the raid; it continues to operate and recently opened a second location, according to Schaef.
“We’ve got a lot of support in the community,” Schaef said. “We’re still going strong.”