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Organized Crime in NorCal May Be Linked to Medical Marijuana

Posted on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015    

The owner of a medical marijuana chain is facing criminal charges based upon allegations of operating a prescription mill. The chain of stores is allegedly part of a vast criminal enterprise that generates millions of dollars that is then laundered and sent overseas, according to recent reports.

Investigators say that “non-doctors” are running these clinics and paying doctors to issue thousands of prescriptions for medical marijuana. Prosecutors believe they have enough evidence of a criminal enterprise to bring charges of money laundering, unlawful practice of medicine and other organized criminal activity. At least four clinics, operating under the name 420 MD in Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and Sacramento are implicated. A doctor associated with the clinic has also been arrested.

Organized Crime Facts

While most people are familiar with the concept of organized crime as epitomized in the movies and on television, few people understand the realities of a criminal enterprise charge. In many cases, criminal enterprise or organized crime charges are handled by the federal government for two reasons:

  • The complexity of these cases. A criminal organization often involves hundreds of people and millions of dollars in assets. It is unusual for a local prosecutor to attempt to try a case of this magnitude. In most instances, these cases are turned over to a federal prosecutor with a team of attorneys and the resources to try this type of criminal case.
  • The geographic reach of these cases. Many criminal enterprises cross state and even national lines. Therefore, a federal prosecutor may be a better choice to handle such charges, as these prosecutors are not limited by jurisdictional concerns.

When someone is charged with a crime as part of a criminal enterprise, he or she is usually facing much more serious penalties than if the crime was committed at the local level. For example, someone who is charged with illegal possession of marijuana by a local prosecutor is usually facing misdemeanor charges. However, if the same person is charged with drug possession as part of a criminal conspiracy to transport marijuana across state lines, the penalties are much more severe.

If you have been charged with any type of crime in connection with a criminal conspiracy, especially one that concerns transactions that cross state lines, you should consult a criminal defense attorney immediately. The attorneys at the Amerio Law Firm in Sacramento are ready to help you work toward the best possible resolution of your case.

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