No Charges Yet In MT Dispensary Raids; $4 Million ‘Seized’

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Photo: THC Finder
Dumb-ass DEA agents felt they needed to wear masks and respirators while raiding and killing medical marijuana gardens in Montana on Monday, because otherwise they might get some of that evil cannabis on them.

​There are still no charges related to this week’s medical marijuana dispensary raids across Montana, but an examination of civil seizure warrants reveals a possible motive behind the raids: The warrants authorized federal agents to “seize” more than $4.2 million from dispensary bank accounts.

Following what authorities claimed was an 18-month investigation, 26 search warrants targeting seven dispensaries were executed on Monday, reports Angela Brandt at the Helena Independent Record. Federal agents claimed they were looking for evidence of “large-scale trafficking” as well as tax evasion.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Victoria Francis said she could not comment on whether any charges are pending. “You can’t talk about that sort of thing until arraignment,” she claimed.

Photo: Montana NORML Blog
“Let’s see… $4.2 million ‘seized’ equals how much in my pocket?” Law enforcement agents stand outside the offices of Montana Cannabis during a raid on Monday.

​An inventory of items “seized” by federal agents should be released “this week or next,” according to Francis. 
As for the court documents supporting the warrants? Francis said those will probably never be released officially.
The Billings Gazette obtained a copy of an affidavit that said undercover agents had been investigating one partner at Montana Cannabis, Richard flor, since 2007, with agents buying marijuana from Flor on at least two occasions.
The affidavit also outlined interviews with ex-employees of Montana Cannabis that said the provider bought pounds of pot from Big Sky Patient Care for weeks last year after Montana Cannabis’s main greenhouse near Helena was burglarized.
Flor’s business partner Chris Williams has forcefully denied any lawbreaking. Montana Cannabis runs a greenhouse that provided marijuana for about 300 patients.
Federal agents stole, I mean took, about $70,000 worth of grow lights and for good measure, the goons even clipped electrical connections.
When asked what happens to the dispensaries — and their “seized” property — if no charges result from the raids, Francis said it will be “up to the companies.”
“Marijuana is still contraband,” she said haughtily.
Francis claimed she “didn’t know” if agents seized lists of patients’ names.
During Monday’s raids, 1,700 plants were taken and bank accounts, both business and personal, were emptied and frozen. Civil seizure warrants authorized agents to “take” more than $4.2 million from bank accounts in Kalispell, Helena and Belgrade.
In Belgrade, a warrant authorized seizure of nearly $1.7 million in a First Security Bank account in the name of the Montana Cannabis Ministry and $103,413 in another account belonging to MCM owners Randy and Stephanie Leibenguth.
In Helena, agents were authorized to “seize” more than $1.3 million from Valley Bank accounts held by Montana Cannabis and the Montana Caregivers Association, plus a Mountain West Bank account with $463,749 in the name of Joshua Schultz of Natural Medicine.
In Kalispell, agents were authorized to “take” $653,550 in a Glacier Bank account belonging to Four Seasons Gardening.
Those named in the warrants include Montana Cannabis, with locations in Helena, Missoula, Billings and Miles City; Big Sky Patient Care of Dillon, Bozeman and Big Sky; Four Seasons Gardening of Columbia Falls; Northern Lights Medical of Columbia Falls; Good Medicine Providers of Columbia Falls; Montana Cannabis Registry of Belgrade; Natural Medicine of Great Falls; and Queen City Caregivers of Helena.
For the official U.S. Department of Justice press release regarding the Montana dispensary raids, click here [PDF].
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