Colorado Raids Linked to DOJ Memo Violations & Drug Gangs

On Thursday November 21, US law enforcement agents, along with local police officers raided 14  medical marijuana locations around Colorado (including dispensaries, grow warehouses and 2 private residences), making it one of the largest federal raids since the state’s medical marijuana laws went into effect.  A search warrant identifies 10 target subjects, noting alleged violations to the latest DOJ memo dealing with state pot laws that contradict federal policy.

On August 29th, the Justice Department issued a memo to federal prosecutors indicating it wouldn’t interfere with legal marijuana businesses that are acting compliance with state law, so long as they strictly adhere to eight specific areas of concern such as preventing distribution to minors and cultivation on public lands.  Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice in Denver said that “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.”  Two of those violations appear to include trafficking marijuana outside of states where it has been legalized and money laundering.  No arrests have been made in this case as of yet.

Many of the locations raided on Thursday had multiple marijuana-related businesses at a single address.  According to the Denver Post, “Investigators believe the businesses that were raided are all “one big operation…[and that] those targeted in the raids had been actively purchasing area dispensaries and growhouses over a sustained period of time.”

Juan Guardarrama, One of the named targets, is known to have a criminal history with potential ties to Cuban and Colombian drug gangs, according to the Miami Herald.  In 2012 Guardarrama, who is also referred to as “Tony Montana” from the Al Pacino movie “Scarface,” asked undercover police officers to transport his CO-grown marijuana to Florida and?to?”take out”?his?partner.  He pleaded guilty earlier this year in Miami in a racketeering case.

This case clearly has a lot of moving parts, and more information is needed to understand the full scope of the situation.  But, if evidence proves that there have been large-scale violations to any of the recent DOJ memo’s eight areas of concern, one can’t be surprised that the federal government would act in accordance to its own guidelines.  As more information emerges, the public will get a better understanding of the story and the alleged players involved in this operation.

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    BACK UP ON STORY:

    1. Police Search of Santa Barbara Pot Dispensary … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/061610_police_search_of_marijuana_dispensar…?
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    2. ???Jun 16, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … Joshua Braun also was charged with possession of marijuana for sales. Bail for each …??
    3. ?Plea Deal May Pit Pot Dealers Against Each Other … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/article/081211_marijuana_dispensary?
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    4. ???Aug 12, 2011 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … Joshua Braun, 34, and his wife, Dayli, 27, own the now-closed Hortipharm dispensary, …??
    5. ?Owner of Raided Medical Marijuana Dispensary … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/051012_pot_dispensary_operator_takes_plea_d…?
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    6. ???May 11, 2012 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News …. Upper State Street dispensary Hortipharm was raided and its operator, Joshua Braun, …??
    7. ?Josh Lynn Opens Law Practice, Will Represent … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/noozhawk/…/081710_josh_lynn_opens_up_own_…?
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    8. ???Aug 17, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … One of his criminal clients is Joshua Braun, the owner of Hortipharm medical marijuana …??
    9. ?Santa Barbara Pot Dispensary Searched; Owners … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/061110_santa_barbara_pot_dispensary_searche…?
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    10. ???Jun 11, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … Joshua Braun also was charged with possession of marijuana for sales. Bail for each …??
    11. ?Marijuana Dispensary Owners, Employees Facing … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/article/041211_marijuana_dispensary_indictment?
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    12. ???Apr 12, 2011 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … As of Tuesday, Joshua Braun is charged with 13 counts of money laundering, sales of …??
    13. ?’Stirring the Pot’ Forum Panelists Say Regulation Is … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/072612_stirring_the_pot_marijuana_public_for…?
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    14. ???Jul 27, 2012 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News …. came to the forum, and former Hortipharm operator Joshua Braun, whose business was …??
    15. ?Future of Marijuana Dispensaries in Limbo … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/article/091310_marijuana_story?
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    16. ???Sep 14, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News …. Hortipharm owner Joshua Braun and his wife, Dayli, were arrested, too, and Joshua …??
    17. ?Marijuana Dispensary Owner Takes the Stand in … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/090810_dispensary_owner_takes_stand_in_his_…?
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    18. ???Sep 8, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News …. Besides Restivo, Hortipharm owner Joshua Braun — who is facing charges related to …??
    19. ?Preliminary Hearing Held for Owner of Raided … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/article/090310_restivo_preliminary_hearing/?
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    20. ?Four Arrested on Drug Charges in Three-County Raids – Noozhawk …?www.noozhawk.com/…/070310_four_arrested_on_drug_charges_in_three…??Jul 3, 2010 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News … Josh Braun, the owner of Hortipharm, was arrested for alledged marijuana possession …??
    21. ?Five People Hurt in Head-On Crash on Cathedral … – Noozhawk.com?www.noozhawk.com/…/050511_head-on_crash_on_cathedral_oaks_roa…?
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    22. ???May 6, 2011 – Noozhawk.com Santa Barbara & Goleta Local News · Twitter · Facebook · RSS · home icon Home; Local News · Local News · Bill Macfadyen …??
    23. ?Joshua Braun | Hortipharm | ZoomInfo.com?www.zoominfo.com/p/Joshua-Braun/1195819246?
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    24. ???View Joshua Braun’s business profile as Owner at Hortipharm and see work history, … Wrong Joshua Braun? …. http://www.noozhawk.com, 10 Nov 2011 [cached].??
    25. ?Britney Weinberg-Lynn (UCSB) – newsle?newsle.com/person/britneyweinberglynn/964550?
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    26. ???UCSB – By Gerald Carpenter, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | Published on 04.22 .2013 4:31 … Josh Braun · Josh Bloomstein · Jeremy Berla · Daniel Elbanna.??
    27. ?Bryan McMinn (Servi-Tek, Inc.) – newsle?newsle.com/person/bryanmcminn/44209436?
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    28. ???Reuters – Reuters content … noozhawk.com Mar 11, 2013 … Vickie Motte · Hernan Alamo · Carmen Dodd · Josh Braun. Follow Newsle: Follow @newsle.??
    29. ?CA: Santa Barbara Marijuana Collective Owner Smoked Out by DA’s …?www.marijuana.com › Forums › News › The Drug War Headline News?
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    30. ???May 10, 2012 – Giana Magnoli | Noozhawk | 5.10.2012 … The Upper State Street dispensary Hortipharm was raided and its operator, Joshua Braun, and …??
    31. ?Santa Barbara News and Interest – Edhat?www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?id=1394&byHit=1…t…?
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    32. ???Link “Mission and State seems like opinion journalism, similar to Noozhawk. ….. I don’t think the comparison between the Hortapharm owner (Josh Braun) and a …??
    33. Legal Grey Area Clouds Pot Shop Case The Santa Barbara …?www.independent.com › News › Features?
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    34. ???Oct 5, 2011 – Braun’s attorney, Josh Lynn, who himself is a former S.B. County Deputy DA, scoffed at Nguyen’s interpretations. “Profit is not permitted but …??
    35. ?Charges Reduced for Hortipharm Defendants The Santa Barbara …?www.independent.com › News › Features?
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    36. ???Aug 10, 2011 – Easily the highest-profile medical marijuana case in Santa Barbara history was resolved this … Hortipharm owner Josh Braun and his wife, Dayli Braun ….. If you believe an Independent.com user or any material appearing on …??
    37. ?Medical Marijuana News The Santa Barbara Independent?www.independent.com/news/medical-marijuana/?
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    38. ???In the wake of federal raids, Santa Barbara medical marijuana dispensaries face … Former medical marijuana dispensary owner Josh Braun saw his sentencing …??
    39. ?Reflections on a Raid The Santa Barbara Independent?www.independent.com › Opinion › Voices?
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    ???Jun 29, 2010 – My name is Joshua Braun, and for those who don’t know me, I was one of … Last week I was released from Santa Barbara County Jail after six …

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