Relocation Of Seeds Lead To Felony Drug Charges
Two consultants linked to a marijuana grow facility may be facing time behind bars
Officials say two men who promised to bring the nation’s first marijuana resort to Flandreau are now facing felony drug charges.
Consultants of a cannabis organization helped grow, then burn nearly 600 plants last November in fear of a state or federal raid.
South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says the facility was illegal from day one.
“There needs to be respect in South Dakota for federal law, state law and tribal sovereignty,” says Jackley.
The Attorney General says marijuana experts have gone against two of these laws.
“This went beyond the recognition of a federal enrolled tribe.”
A Moody County grand jury indicted 34-year-old Eric Hagen on three felony counts of marijuana-related charges.
Hagen was the president of Monarch America, the company that made an agreement with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe in June 2015 to create a facility that would harvest approximately 30 pounds of marijuana per week.
The vice president, Jonathan Hunt, has also been charged.
“The people of the state of South Dakota have determined that it is unlawful to possess, unlawful to ingest, unlawful to grow and unlawful to distribute marijuana,” says Moody County State’s Attorney Paul Lewis.
The officials say the issue is that Hagen and Hunt had clear plans to allow non-tribal members to buy and ingest the illegal drug in what was called a ‘Consumption Lounge’.
“Part of the design and plan was literally and openly to bus college kids to smoke marijuana, and then bus them back to college,” explains Jackley.
Court documents show shuttle buses were going to cost around $5 a head.
Additionally, there would be “glass pipes available to use while at their facility to smoke marijuana,” and “they would sell one gram of marijuana for $12”.
Another issue was how the marijuana seeds were transported to Flandreau.
“Certainly those seeds are contraband,” says Jackley.
Jackley says the seeds came from the Netherlands.
They were delivered in 10 shipments concealed in either CD cases or sewn into T-shirts.
“That clearly violated both federal law and state law.”
Jackley says not all of the seeds have been destroyed.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Council still has some extras.
He says those should be turned over to law enforcement.
But he believes the money the tribe spent on costs associated with the establishment should be returned to them by Monarch America.
Jackley and the Moody County State’s Attorney both made it clear today that the indictment is not against the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
In fact, Jackley said the members, to some degree, are victims because he believes Monarch America did not enclose important information to them.