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Drugs and cash found after a traffic stop for cell phone use

A California Highway Patrol officer was watching for cell phone violators when he stopped a driver using his phone. The officer smelled marijuana in the car and a subsequent search found two pounds of marijuana and $15,000. The suspect was booked in the Marin County Jail and faces drug charges regarding selling and transporting marijuana for sale.

However, it turns out the man is also facing other charges from 2007. It is alleged that the man and his brother were using their business, known as either The Compassionate Patient's Collective or The Compassionate Collective of Alameda County, as a cover for a large drug trafficking organization.

Authorities allege that company revenues spiked from $74,000 during 2004 to a high of $26.3 million in 2007. Several hundred pounds of marijuana were seized along with $200,000 in cash. Other assets that were seized included two cars, bank and retirement accounts, and real estate. The Board of Equalization shows that the brothers and their business also owe back taxes amounting to over $2 million. The brothers claim that they ran their cooperative as a legal business and paid taxes until the federal authorities confiscated their assets, leaving them without money to pay their state taxes.

Drug charges can be serious. Convictions for trafficking and selling large amounts of marijuana can result in prison terms and fines. It may be in the suspect's best interests to allow a criminal defense attorney to review the case. An attorney may look into whether proper search and seizure procedures were followed by the police. If the proper procedures were not followed, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: Mercury News, "Traffic stop for cellphone violation lands drug suspect in jail," Gary Kilen, April 5, 2013

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