|For Immediate Release
Case # 10HF0345
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
OWNER OF ILLEGAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF ILLEGALLY
SELLING MARIJUANA AND MONEY LAUNDERING
*Two dispensary managers are also charged in this case
SANTA ANA – The owner of a Lake Forest marijuana dispensary was arrested Friday on charges of illegally selling marijuana and money laundering. Mark Gregory Moen, 50, Westminster, is charged with 38 felony counts of money laundering, one felony count of possession of money over $100,000 obtained from illegal sales of marijuana, three felony counts of the sale of marijuana, one felony count of possession of marijuana for sale, and a sentencing enhancement for money laundering over $150,000. Moen also faces two sentencing enhancements for crime-bail-crime, as the defendant is out of custody on bail for felony burglary charges in Orange County in October 2006 and felony transportation of more than $25,000 obtained as the result of illegal drug sales in Mendocino County in June 2009. If convicted on all counts, Moen faces a maximum sentence of 39 years in state prison. He is being held on $500,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.
Robert Adams Moody, 23, Mission Viejo, a manager and operator of the dispensary, is charged with three felony counts of the sale of marijuana, two felony counts of possession of marijuana for sale, and one felony count of cultivating marijuana. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison if convicted. Moody is being held on $100,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.
Marco Enrique Verduzco, 23, Foothill Ranch, a manager of the dispensary, is charged with three felony counts of the sale of marijuana and one felony count of possession of marijuana for sale. If convicted, Verduzco faces a maximum sentence of six years and eight months in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond.
Moen, Moody, and Verduzco are expected to be arraigned today, Monday, March 8, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
Explanation of the Law
Under California state law, the cultivation, possession, distribution, and/or sale of marijuana is illegal. California law only provides an affirmative defense to those with a physician’s recommendation or to their primary caregiver for the possession or cultivation of marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient. California law also allows qualified patients and their primary caregivers to associate in order to collectively and cooperatively cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. This affirmative defense does not apply to the sale of marijuana. Distribution and sale of marijuana to individuals with a physician’s recommendation without any other relationship, such as through a dispensary, is not permitted under California law.
Circumstances of the Case
On Sept. 30, 2009, Moen is accused of being in possession of over $145,000 cash in his vehicle. He is accused of possessing the cash with the knowledge that it was obtained as the result of the unlawful sale of marijuana. At approximately 11:45 p.m., the defendant is accused of being stopped for a traffic violation while driving in Huntington Beach. The defendant was released after showing the officer paperwork indicating that he owned a marijuana dispensary. The money was seized by the Huntington Beach Police Department pursuant to asset forfeiture laws.
Moen, Moody, and Verduzco are accused of illegally operating 215 Agenda, a marijuana dispensary on Raymond Way in Lake Forest, with a storefront in the same building as a preschool. Moen is accused of being the owner and laundering money through banks by depositing money obtained from the illegal sale of marijuana. Moody and Verduzco are accused of managing 215 Agenda.
The three defendants are accused of selling marijuana to any person with a physician’s recommendation without any relationship to the purchaser and without requiring or requesting them to participate in collectively or cooperatively cultivating marijuana.
On Friday, March 5, 2010, Moen and Verduzco were arrested at 215 Agenda by investigators from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD). Moody was arrested in a nearby store.
An advertisement for 215 Agenda has appeared in the OC Weekly. The ad reads, “FREE MARIJUANA First time patients receive a free edible and a pre-roll with mention of this ad,” and “We carry the Best Weed in the entire World!”
This case was investigated by OCSD. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Schunk of the Major Narcotics Unit is prosecuting this case.