Charges dropped against 6 in $1M marijuana raid in Detroit
Detroit — Six people no longer are facing charges following a $1 million drug bust on the city's southwest side, officials said.
All the charges against Cotea Jones, 53; Jeanne Walsh, 37; Curtis Williams, 36; Travis Davison, 27; Jabari Currie, 31; and James Frazier, 32, all of Detroit, were dropped following a Detroit raid on May 29. Charges included felony drug delivery and manufacturing charges, both carrying up to 15 years in prison.
Judge Kenneth King of 36th District Court dismissed the case "in the interest of fairness."
Prosecutors had argued that the facility where the raid took place on the 4400 block of West Jefferson Avenue was not licensed to grow marijuana.
The Detroit Police Department's Gang Intelligence Unit executed a search warrant at the medical marijuana facility and seized 200 marijuana plants, about $1 million worth, authorities said.
A defense attorney in the case, Michael Komorn, said the facility was granted a temporary operation's certification from the city, allowing up to 1,500 plants while the facility waited for the filing process to be approved by the city. Komorn said the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office made the argument that the facility only was allowed to sell, and not grow, at the facility.
"That's absurd," Komorn said. "It's a semantic issue because I would say everyone would understand that if they've been given permission to sell it, of course a medical marijuana caregivers center includes growing and cultivating marijuana."
Komorn said King understood his argument, and said the judge responded: "That kind of leads me to the burning question: 'If you’re able to dispense but you can’t grow it, how are you supposed to get it? Where are you supposed to get it from?' "
The dropped charges come as the Detroit City Council approved changes to an ordinance aimed at combating the growth of so-called pot shops. Zoning changes approved Tuesday cap the number of medical marijuana facilities in the city at 75, regulate where they can set up and how big they can be.
The ordnance change will establish rules for sites that grow, test, process, transport and dispense medical marijuana to patients with state-approved medical marijuana cards.
The changes will not close the nearly 60 dispensaries operating legally in Detroit on a temporary authorization from the city and state.
Detroit News Staff Writer Christine Ferretti contributed to this report.