US Attorney for the District of Montana, Michael W. Cotter, announced yesterday that 12 criminal search warrants plus four civil seizure warrants for financial institutions were executed as the result of a year-long multi-agency investigation into “drug trafficking”. The Associated Press confirms 3 medical marijuana caregiver services were raided as part of the crackdown.
“Twelve new search warrants were carried out today because sufficient probable cause was established to support that the premises were involved in illegal and large-scale trafficking of marijuana,” said U.S. District Attorney Michael Cotter in his announcement. “When criminal networks violate federal laws in Montana those involved will be prosecuted,” he continued.
The press release also mentioned that “Individuals with illnesses who are in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law are not the focus of this investigation.”
Wednesday’s raids are a continuation of a recent crackdown on Montana dispensaries that started in March, when the Feds searched dozens of registered medical marijuana caregivers in coordinated raids as legislators struggled to establish laws regarding who’d qualify for medical weed or how they’d even get it. Ultimately, they banned the commercial sale of medical marijuana, but a judge blocked that provision while a legal challenge makes its way through the courts. Anyhow, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and others have sued the federal government, claiming those raids violated their civil rights.
So far no federal criminal charges have been filed yet. But, check out how many organizations took part in the investigation: the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, and the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office. Plus, all these dudes helped: Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Kalispell Police Department, and the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force. That can’t be cheap.
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