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MailTribune.com
  • Medical marijuana suspects face new charges

    Racketeering, money laundering added to their long list of charges
  • Three people arrested in a series of medical marijuana dispensary raids will face racketeering counts and other new charges.
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  • Three people arrested in a series of medical marijuana dispensary raids will face racketeering counts and other new charges.
    Jackson Count Circuit Court Judge Tim Gerking set Aug. 12 pretrial hearings Monday afternoon for Lori Duckworth, 48, Leland Duckworth, 49, and David James Bond, 44.
    The Duckworths face added charges of a single count each of racketeering, three counts each of money laundering and a single count each of possession of substantial amounts of marijuana in excess of 150 grams, said Leland Duckworth's attorney Leland Berger.
    Bond also has been charged with a single count of racketeering and money laundering.
    The Duckworths already were facing 11 counts each of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, and 11 counts each of manufacturing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. Bond has been charged with four counts of conspiracy to deliver marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, and four counts of manufacturing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, as well as being a felon in possession of a weapon.
    The defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
    Gerking had previously ordered the defendants not to have any contact with each other and submit to drug testing at the court's request.
    Berger successfully argued the couple should have the no-contact order lifted. The prosecution had no objection, he said.
    Lori Duckworth, a vocal proponent of medical marijuana, is the executive director of the Southern Oregon chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
    The tearful Duckworths embraced in the courtroom lobby for several minutes after their brief court appearance.
    "It's going to be OK," Leland Duckworth whispered to his wife.
    The SONORML office on West Sixth Street in Medford was one of four medical cannabis dispensaries raided by police on May 23. The office is a local affiliate of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
    The Jackson County raids made headlines across the country and prompted an outcry from local medical-marijuana advocates, who claim police were doing little more than trying to prove a point that they disapprove of the Duckworths in particular and the medical-marijuana community in general.
    Police allege the dispensaries were storefronts for illegal marijuana sales. Officers said they seized nearly 12 pounds of marijuana, 94 plants, $2,752 in cash, documents, computers and edible marijuana products from SONORML. Police said they believe the money is from illegal drug sales. Police also said they seized 22 pounds of marijuana from the Duckworths' home.
    An hour after her court appearance, Lori Duckworth spoke about their case, and being apart from her husband of more than 20 years since the day of their arrest.
    "I'm shocked that there were additional charges," Duckworth said. "I believe we were fully in compliance with all Oregon medical marijuana laws at all times."
    Fingering the couple's wedding rings dangling from a chain around her neck, Duckworth said hers is too large because she lost 12 pounds while in jail. She said she was looking forward to sharing a family dinner with her husband.
    "It was the longest time we've ever been apart," she said.
    Duckworth said she was grateful for the community support she has received. Not only has the cannabis community rallied around their cause, business owners and "people from all walks of life" have offered encouragement, Duckworth said.
    "They can see through the dog-and-pony show that's going on," she said.
    Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or sspecht@mailtribune.com.
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