Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
OWNER OF ILLEGAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND ILLEGALLY SELLING MARIJUANA
SANTA ANA – The owner of a Lake Forest marijuana dispensary was convicted and sentenced today for selling marijuana and money laundering. Mark Gregory Moen, 52, Westminster, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 73 felony counts of money laundering, four felony counts of the sale of marijuana, two felony counts of possession of marijuana for sale, and one felony count of possessing more than $100,000 in case from narcotics proceeds. He admitted to the sentencing enhancement allegations for money laundering over $150,000 and crime-bail-crime, indicating that Moen was out of custody on bail for another case at the time of the crime.
Moen was sentenced to three years in state prison. Under the new State sentencing laws, the court split Moen’s sentence. He was ordered to serve six months in Orange County Jail, for which he received credit for time served, and two years and six months of mandatory supervision.
Co-defendant Marco Enrique Verduzco, 25, Foothill Ranch, a manager of the dispensary, pleaded guilty June 7, 2011, to one felony count of possession of marijuana for sale and was sentenced to two years of informal probation.
Co-defendant Robert Adams Moody, 25, 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 sentencing ranging from probation up to eight years in state prison if convicted. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing March 8, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, 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 was in possession of over $145,000 cash in his vehicle with the knowledge that it was obtained as the result of the unlawful sale of marijuana. At approximately 11:45 p.m., the defendant was stopped in a traf