- Nat Stein
- DA Dan May at the mic, flanked by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Sheriff Bill Elder and Colorado Springs Police Department Deputy Chief Mark Smith
Now we know what this search warrant was about.
Tuesday morning, a group of top prosecutors and law enforcement officials held a press conference "regarding a successful multi-jurisdictional operation." Turns out, a Colorado grand jury has indicted thirteen people associated with Hoppz' Cropz — a local business with two locations (one on Hancock Expressway and one on East Boulder Street) that sells marijuana-related merchandise like lighters, rolling papers and clothing. As the Indy and other news outlets have reported, it was well-known that Hoppz' Cropz was in the practice of "gifting" marijuana to customers who buy other items at an extreme markup. (E.g. you buy a $15 lighter, and you get a free gram of cannabis with it.)
Such a practice is prohibited under both local and state law.
The indictment calls Hoppz' Cropz a "drug trafficking organization" that allegedly used the gifting model to distribute nearly 200 pounds of marijuana without paying the licensure fees or taxes typically associated with retail marijuana sales in Colorado. The "pattern of racketeering activity" detailed in the 61-page indictment include the following counts: distribution of marijuana; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; possession with intent to manufacture or distribution; money laundering; tax evasion; conspiracy to commit tax evasion; failure to file a tax return; filing a false tax return; keeping property for the unlawful distribution of a controlled substance; attempt to influence a public servant; and the unlawful use of a communications facility.
Allegedly, the defendants bought medical marijuana from a local dispensary to supply their head shops.
The investigation included undercover buys, intercepted text messages and collaboration with special agents from Colorado's Department of Revenue.
This blog will get updated so check back later.