COLORADO SPRINGS - Thirteen owners of a Colorado Springs business have been indicted for the illegal distribution of over 200 pounds of marijuana.
The 13 indicted include Hoppz' Cropz owners Joseph Hopper, Dara Wheatley, Joseph Sergio Crivici and Adam Donaldson.
Everyone involved allegedly purchased medical marijuana from licensed facilities and resold it for profit as a "free giveaway" promotion.
One way they would conduct their operation would be to sell a cheap cigarette lighter for $15 and then "give away" one gram of marijuana for free. The street value of one gram of weed is around $15.
The District Attorney's office said that Hoppz' Cropz "contributed to the recreational marijuana black market while successfully evading paying fees regularly associated with retail recreational marijuana dispensary licensure and evaded excise taxes that an otherwise fully licensed retail recreational dispensary would normally be required to pay to the Department of Revenue."
The owners-managers, as well as the employees, also failed to report nearly half a million dollars in retail sales.
They also engaged in a second form of tax evasion by promoting and receiving "under the table" payments of wages.
Those involved are charged with Money Laundering, Evasion of Taxes, Attempting to Influence a Public Servant, Possession with Intent to Manufacture or Distribute Marijuana, and other crimes.