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Court says Bay Area auto thief should not be banned from using marijuana

Published: Aug 26, 2020, 1:31 pm • Updated: Aug 26, 2020, 1:32 pm By Gary Klien A state appeals court has ruled that a convicted auto thief in San Rafael should not have been barred from marijuana use as a condition of his probation. The vehicle was reported stolen in March 2019. Brayan Alexander Cruz Cruz, 21, was arrested five days later after police found him in the vehicle. Cruz Cruz accepted a guilty plea in less than two weeks. Before the sentencing, Cruz Cruz told the probation department he used alcohol and marijuana on occasion. He said he had used marijuana on the day of his arrest. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Seven indicted for allegedly running prostitution ring out of Denver massage parlors

A Denver grand jury indicted seven people and 12 businesses for running an alleged international human trafficking operation comprised of illicit massage parlors and black market marijuana grow operations, the Denver District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday. The seven individuals, indicted on 33 felony counts, are accused of “engaging in a pattern of racketeering in which the massage parlors were the nexus for running a complex pimping, prostitution, money laundering and tax evasion operation that generated millions of dollars,” the DA’s office said in a news release. “We believe that the defendants were hiding in plain sight as they trafficked women from China to engage in sex acts with customers of their massage businesses,” Beth McCann, Denver’s District Attorney, said in a stateme...

Commerce City man sentenced to federal prison for illegal marijuana grow

Published: Jul 17, 2020, 7:07 pm • Updated: Jul 17, 2020, 7:09 pm By Kieran Nicholson A Commerce City man has been sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for illegal cultivation of marijuana in a residence. Zhiming Wang, 26, a Chinese national and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., was also sentenced Friday to three years of supervised release following his prison term, according to a U.S. Attorney Office, District of Colorado news release. Related Articles Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Businessman sentenced to prison for involvement in black market marijuana organization

A California businessman described as the mastermind behind an illegal marijuana trafficking organization was sentenced to 12 years in prison for conning people out of money and shipping drugs out of state. Scott Pack, 42, was sentenced Thursday by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Michael Spear on two counts under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, including a first-class drug felony, as well as two counts of securities fraud, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Spear characterized Pack as one of the leaders of the operation. He emphasized the sophistication of the criminal operation is cause for concern as the state seeks to enforce its marijuana laws, the news release said. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Marijuana raids ongoing in Mesa, Teller, El Paso and Las Animas counties

Two large marijuana busts are occurring in Colorado but authorities say they are not connected. In Teller County, the sheriff’s office reported raids in Colorado Springs, Divide and in Las Animas County where two people were arrested and three properties were searched in a 14-hour operation. The investigation involved a group associated with black market marijuana cultivation and distribution, according to a Teller County Sheriff’s Office news release. In Mesa County, the sheriff’s office asked people to stay out of the Grand Mesa area because of an investigation into marijuana illegally grown on public lands. A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter is participating in the operation, which is expected to last throughout the day. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Not your typical grow house: Bay Area buyers paid cash, moved in the marijuana

Published: Jun 29, 2020, 12:44 pm • Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 12:45 pm By Bay Area News Group Custom-built house, wraparound porch, great views, perfect for … a grow house. A marijuana raid in Merced County allegedly found an extensive growing operation in an unlikely-looking home. Three buyers, from San Francisco and San Leandro, paid $590,000 cash for the house in April, the Merced County Sheriff’s Department said on Wednesday. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Reward offered after San Jose man goes missing in Mendocino County

Published: Jun 11, 2020, 11:42 am • Updated: Jun 11, 2020, 11:45 am By Bay Area News Group Police are publicizing a reward in the case of a San Jose man who went missing in April from a Mendocino County marijuana farm. Victor “Gallo” Medina, 39, had reportedly been working at marijuana greenhouses on the Round Valley Indian Reservation, in Covelo. His family reported him missing to San Jose police in mid-April. A search of the greenhouse property during a raid last month turned up no sign of Medina. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Despite legalization, people of color still disproportionately targeted for marijuana, new studies say

Marijuana legalization has been touted as one way to unravel the consequences of the war on drugs, but two new studies suggest that the communities most harmed by the nearly 50-year crusade — namely people of color — are not reaping the benefits. Two reports, published by the American Civil Liberties Union and a team of researchers from Stanford University and New York University, respectively, analyzed different sets of police data and came to similar conclusions: despite legalization, minorities are still disproportionately searched and arrested for marijuana-related offenses. The university researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature: Human Behavior on May 8, looked at data from about 100 million traffic stops conducted by more than 50 state patrol agencies and munic...

San Jose man kidnapped from Mendocino County marijuana grow site, sheriff’s office says

COVELO – A 23-year-old San Jose man was kidnapped at gunpoint from a marijuana grow site in Mendocino County last week, authorities said Monday. His abductor threatened to shoot him if the victim didn’t pay $30,000 he owed to the man. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said the victim escaped serious injury and the suspect was arrested. The victim, who only speaks Spanish, told deputies through his brother-in-law that he was working at the grow site in Covelo about 1 p.m. on June 2 when the owner of the property – identified as 20-year-old Emergene Phillips – arrived in a Ford Edge. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

Search for missing San Jose man leads to raid of marijuana farm

Published: May 10, 2020, 6:49 am • Updated: May 10, 2020, 6:50 am By Bay Area News Group The search for a missing San Jose man led to the raid of a large marijuana growing operation in Mendocino County and the detention of 10 people, five of them from San Jose. The missing man — Victor “Gallo” Medina, 39 — was not found. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, while investigating marijuana farms on the Round Valley Indian Reservation, learned that Medina had reportedly gone missing while working on one such operation, a Wednesday press release by the office said. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

El Paso County breaks up three illegal marijuana grows

Published: Apr 30, 2020, 10:54 pm • Updated: Apr 30, 2020, 10:55 pm By Kieran Nicholson Three illegal marijuana growing operations were uncovered and raided in El Paso County on Wednesday, with more than 700 plants, worth an estimated $700,000, seized. Investigators also seized $28,000 and five firearms while serving search warrants at three locations, according to a sheriff’s office news release. El Paso sheriffIllegal marijuana raids in El Paso County. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Coding and cannabis: Santa Clara County to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions

SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County plans to expunge 13,000 minor marijuana convictions that were rendered moot by the state’s 2016 legalization of recreational pot use and sales, two months before a deadline set by the landmark law. But in the South Bay, it’s not just criminal-justice or drug policy story. Keeping in line with the region’s technological lineage, the District Attorney’s Office also made it a coding story. That’s because with the anticipated signature of Judge Eric Geffon in a Hall of Justice courtroom Wednesday, prosecutors are planning to automatically clear those conviction records from local, regional and federal law-enforcement databases with software created in-house by the DA’s technology staff. Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

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