By AP News, 3-14-12
MISSOULA – Two Kalispell men and a Bozeman couple have pleaded guilty to federal drug charges filed after March 2011 raids on medical marijuana businesses across the state.
Aaron Durbin, 29, and Justin Maddock, 40, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana during a hearing Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy. They were among four people charged after a raid at Good Medicine Providers in Columbia Falls. Sentencing is set for June 22.
Prosecutors said confidential informants were ready to testify that Good Medicine Providers was selling large quantities of marijuana, including 10 pounds provided to one informant.
Mark Siegler, 60, and Valerie Sigler, 38, were arraigned Monday and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana with intent to distribute. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch, of Missoula, scheduled their sentencing for June 21.
The Sieglers were charged after raids at Big Sky Patient Care locations in Dillon, Big Sky and Bozeman resulted in the seizure of 234 marijuana plants and marijuana packaged for sale. Prosecutors say the Sieglers illegally sold several pounds of marijuana to a Helena medical marijuana provider after that business was vandalized.
The federal raids placed a chill on Montana's booming medical marijuana industry at the same time the state Legislature was working to make changes to the law.
There were 14,364 registered medical marijuana users and 422 registered providers at the end of February, compared with 31,522 patients and 4,650 providers in May 2011, according to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services.
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