Drug bust cases renewed

Thirty-seven people are targeted in a federal indictment issued this week that alleges they used the state’s medical marijuana law to grow and sell pot plants for profit.
Becky Vargo
Apr 18, 2014

Douglas Harjer of Grand Haven and Joe and Peggy Wimmer of Grand Haven Township are among those named in the indictment.

This is the second time an indictment has been handed down in the campaign known as Operation High Mileage.

Several police agencies participated in a multiple-city bust in October 2013, arresting 27 people at the time. That same month, all of the charges were dismissed at the prosecuting attorney’s request so that officials would have more time to get the case ready for a Grand Jury review, Harjer’s attorney, Dan Grow, said at the time.

The complaint issued Tuesday says that, from January 2009 to Oct. 16, 2013, there was a conspiracy in Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon and Oceana counties to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana.

“In order to promote the conspiracy, the defendants developed a plan to hide behind the framework of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act as they sold marijuana to persons who both consumed and resold the marijuana to other persons in violation of federal law,” the indictment reads.

Read the full indictment: Download the Related File (PDF) below this story.

Many of those charged are members of a group known as the Medical Marijuana Team, or MMT.

“The MMT prided itself on providing high-grade marijuana selling for between $180 and $220 per ounce,” the indictment says. “Many MMT members owned and wore clothing with a distinctive logo bearing the letters ‘MTM’ with marijuana leaves layered into it. Some members sport permanent tattoos with the organization’s logo.”

MMT members bought and sold marijuana, hashish, marijuana wax and other related products, the indictment reads. The team members owned “grow “stores in West Michigan, including Plant Paradise and In Do Grow, which sold supplies and equipment to people interested in the manufacture and use of marijuana.

Shawn Andrew Taylor, Molly Anne Taylor and Robert Housley were the main operators of the conspiracy, operating primarily out of Muskegon County, according to the indictment.

The indictment claims marijuana-growing operations were conducted at 22 locations, including the Wimmer house in the 15600 block of 164th Avenue in Grand Haven Township, and at a residence in the 100 block of East Savidge Street in Spring Lake.

The Wimmers were cited for growing more than 50 plants. Harjer was cited for growing less than 50 plants.

Harjer’s attorney said his client will be reporting to federal court for arraignment on May 5.

“Defendants previously arrested and processed are going to self-surrender over the next couple of weeks,” Grow said.

Grow said they’re not expecting a jail sentence in Harjer’s case.

“We’re expecting a probationary sentence,” the attorney said.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Comments

zwesterhouse

It will be so interesting to see how this plays out. If they all plead not guilty to the bitter end. The jury can find them "not guilty" because if its the law , and if the jurors agree and find "not guilty", my question is would they really go free? How does our system really work as opposed to how is it supposed to work? This stuff is getting confusing. Its supposed to be the law right? Then what about CCW Permits? are they really legal? But if jury would find "not guilty" then what?

Tri-cities realist

I'm confused, why would the defendant's attorney talk about sentencing, shouldn't he be proclaiming his client's innocence?

Robinson Reader

"Medical" marijuana is a sham and always has been. It's simply the camel nose under the tent for stoners who want to have pot legalized.

These arrests show that it's not confined to those who need it. Everyone who pays attention knows that getting a your medical marijuana card is a joke and a free pass to get stoned without repercussions.

Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle and our society is already suffering the consequences of rampant drug use.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll...the hippies of the 60's control our society now.

Smurf

So...is this a felony or "HIGH" Court Misdemeanor??? ,,bahdahdeebing!!

nextdoor

It's not a total sham marijuana actually has a lot of medical uses from helping chemo patients eat,killing pain,helping people relax and and other things.

Robinson Reader

Well..there are products like Marinol that are based on the active ingredient. But "medical" marijuana is really a smoked or ingested plant. For each one of the things you've listed there are already prescription drugs that do a better job and are safer than smoking a burning substance.

The "medical" marijuana proponents are the same folks who want to legalize pot smoking. It's hard to get people to vote for "let's get high whenever we want without a criminal or social stigma". But it's easy to make up lies about the benefits of smoking pot and sell it as a medicine.

LessThanAmused

So, do you feel the same way about the medicinal effects and abuse of alcohol, or are you just another hypocrite?

Lanivan

Kudos....you did it again, succinctly. Nailed this dudes hypocrisy to the door. (Not a trace of sarcasm here).

Tri-cities realist

Berating someone's hypocrisy, really? Priceless.

Robinson Reader

I get it...this is the "alcohol is bad too so why don't we legalize dope" argument. Is that really your reason for wanting to legalize dope? That people already abuse legal things so we might as well make pot legal too so that even more people can abuse it then do now?

lakeshore12

So prescription drugs/pills that people can easily overdose on are safer than marijuana? Robinsonreader if that is what you really believe then you need to do some research.

Robinson Reader

I'm afraid you don't understand what "medical" marijuana is. It's a bunch of yahoo's growing dope and selling it to make a profit. Medicine has nothing to do with it. IF it did it would have to go through the same rigorous procedure that all prescription drugs do. And in fact the attempts to do this for "medical" marijuana has been met with howls of protests.

lakeshore12

You make a very bold assumption when you say medical marijuana is a bunch of yahoo's growing dope. That is a pretty ridiculous claim.

cantthinkofaname

Wow. RR - have you seen the ads on the T.V. for all the medicine the drug companies push? The possible side effect warnings take up the whole commercial time. It might be better to try a natural substance that has been around for thousands of years. The possible side effects include calming the heck down...try it.

cantthinkofaname

Wow. RR - have you seen the ads on the T.V. for all the medicine the drug companies push? The possible side effect warnings take up the whole commercial time. It might be better to try a natural substance that has been around for thousands of years. The possible side effects include calming the heck down...try it.

wonderwhy

As for the coments about mmj patients and caretakers just wanting to legalize
Just to get stoned. I say take a real look at the situation even if this were true and that was the only justification. Take a look at a few truths. How much our government we the people spend on a war on drugs each year, how many peoples lives are ruined by a petty crime such as marijuana possesion, how much of that money used to go to huge war machines and foriegn cartels and has it by being illegal stopped anyone from aquiring it?
Now on the basis of mmj as a viable herb and drug. I have known quite a few people with hiv or aids that marijuana is the major reason why they still live. Also I have seen many people with cronic pain able to ditch some of their pain medications or solve problems about not being to eat because of their pain medications. Also there ar many new studies showing that marijuana actually can shrink some cancerous tumors. So this banter About a bunch of smelly hippies is hogwash.
And if they were making a profit which I doubt it was any more than just serving their patients and trying to recoup some pretty great costs that can be incurred by any agricultural operation.!

brkm7

NEVER in the recorded history of the planet has there ever been a confirmed case of ANYone dying from marijuana overdose. Every week right here in West Michigan, people die from a heroin overdose. Every week people die from alcohol poisoning. Don't even get me started on how many people die from prescription drugs or the multi-billion dollar medical malpractice industry.

FACT: Marijuana WILL BE LEGAL in the relatively near future. A majority of the citizens already support that and vote accordingly. That majority continues to grow and soon all of the stubborn old stick-in-the-muds who are fighting against it will cycle out of their positions of power and be replaced by younger more progressive leaders of tomorrow.

FACT: Marijuana is natural, it has been around for EVER. It's far less dangerous than alcohol and has been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to have numerous genuine bonafide undeniable medicinal uses.

Fact: No one has ever committed a violent crime while under the influence of marijuana. Every person I've ever seen high on marijuana just wanted a hug, a nap and a sandwich. (not necessarily in that order)

Fact: The war on drugs has been an epic failure. Lost miserably since it's very inception. Billions of dollars and countless human lives have been literally WASTED with nothing to show for it except prisons overflowing with non-violent offenders who have never hurt anyone and in most cases were quite literally the ONLY victims in the whole process.

Marijuana makes people happy and it makes people feel good. What the hell is the harm in that? I could go on but I'm bored with this now.. LOL

Tri-cities realist

Regarding your first claim, you might want to check out http://time.com/10372/marijuana-...

Sorry to burst your bubble about violent crime and ganja, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pu...

And the abstract from a RAND study: see http://www.rand.org/content/dam/...

We examine the relationship between marijuana use and non-drug related crime using data on arrests from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program and Uniform Crime Reports. There is a positive association between self-reported use at the time of the offence and non-drug related violent, property and income-producing crime even after accounting for other substance use in the ADAM data. Reduced form equations using both data sets only provide evidence supporting a causal mechanism for property and income-producing crime. In the case of violent crime, we find a statistically significant association with arrests but not reported crime, suggesting that marijuana use may just influence the likelihood of getting caught committing these crimes.

So feel free to offer your opinion here, but refrain from alleging "facts" which can be easily debunked. I could go on but...

Local74

If you don't like it, don't smoke it. If you enjoy it, roll it up. It's one of the ONLY drugs rx or otherwise that you CANT overdose on. People that run their mouth about what other people should do or not do should stop wasting heir time and run for office!!! Blahahahahahil

Local74

Ooooh WEMET, you dumb dumbs. Go get real jobs. Do your own work scumbags

Local74

RR, you should buy a vowel and solve the puzzle. You have no idea

Local74

Bad hearts kill. Pot doesn't

brkm7

LMAO Did you even read these articles you referenced? Your sources are invalid and insignificant! In fact, here is a quote from one of them:

"Most of those who test positive for marijuana also use other illicit drugs or alcohol (NIJ, 2000)1. The use of these other substances may be what motivated the criminal behavior rather than marijuana. Second, unlike other illegal substances, a positive urine sample for THC only indicates use in the past month; it does not indicate that marijuana was used immediately prior to the offense taking place.

Even if these articles didn't repeatedly contradict themselves, they represent such statistically insignificant studies that they are rendered utterly useless.

Personally, I have never tried marijuana... YET. But I intend to, someday. Or maybe I won't. The point is, why shouldn't I be able to if I want? My issue with the law is a simple matter of rights and freedoms. Especially in the case of licensed medical caregivers and patients, there is NO VICTIM! How can you have a crime without a victim?

My personal opinion is that WEMET is a colossal waste of resources. So much more good could be done with that money than using it to support housing honest hard working people in prison for such a comparatively harmless "crime". How can those WEMET detectives sleep at night knowing that while they are ruining good people's lives for having some marijuana, other people are dying every day from heroin, meth and crack? I love and support most police officers but I have zero respect or use for wemet. Or any other drug specific agency. DEA included.

Argue with me all you want, reference all the obscure, insignificant "studies" you want, don't use marijuana if you don't want to.. But don't try to claw your way onto the top of some non-existent moral high ground on the basis of taking away a persons God Given Right to do something that they enjoy or that gives them some happiness at absolutely no cost or detriment to any other human being! You have NO RIGHT and neither does our government! Now go drink your tequila and smoke a cigarette. When you get cancer you will beg for marijuana!

brkm7

Here's a real study from a real doctor!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/9-...

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