9Wants to Know: Raided marijuana shops suspected to have Colombian drug cartel connections

11:31 AM, Nov 23, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - 9Wants to Know has learned federal investigators believe Colombian drug cartels have taken root within Colorado's medical marijuana industry.

On Thursday, federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service executed search warrants on several medical marijuana shops in Denver and Boulder.

One of those shops is VIP Cannabis, a shop near Federal Boulevard and Alameda Avenue. Numerous calls into VIP Cannabis by 9Wants to Know have not been returned.

While the warrants and other documents relating to the investigation are under court-ordered seal, sources spoke on the condition of anonymity to 9Wants to Know.

The sources close to the investigation say federal agents are gathering evidence that will show profits made from several cannabis grow operations are flowing back to Colombia.

On Thursday, the US Attorney's Office would not disclose the exact reasons for the raids, but referred to the recent Department of Justice memo which outlines eight priorities for federal marijuana enforcement.

The eight priorities were established as federal guidelines in the wake of recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.

One of those priorities is preventing marijuana revenue from going to gangs and cartels.

"While the investigation is ongoing, there are strong indications that more than one of the eight federal prosecution priorities identified in the Department of Justice's August guidance memo are potentially implicated," said Jeff Dorschner, Spokesman, U.S. Attorney's Office.

There is no indication the recent federal raids are part of a wide reaching effort to thwart marijuana legalization in Colorado or target business that are playing by the rules.

So far, nobody has been arrested or charged in relation to Thursday's raids.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him
jeremy.jojola@9news.com

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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