Officials Unveil Hawaii Marijuana Case

The Hawaii U.S. Attorney on Friday outlined grand jury indictments against 14 people in connection with a marijuana case on the Big Island.

The defendants face charges of conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana.

The federal grand jury returned the indictment on June 24, but it remained sealed until Friday.

The feds said this was a huge pot-growing and selling organization masquerading as a religious group. Agents seized about 3 thousand plants with a street value of nearly $5 million.

Federal prosecutors said Roger Christie, 61, was the leader of a marijuana operation based in the Hilo offices of the THC Ministry. THC is the abbreviation for the active ingredient in marijuana.

Christie claimed he had a religious right to grow and distribute marijuana.

"This was a large-scale business," said Florence Nakakuni, U.S. Attorney for Hawaii.

The feds tapped three of Christie's phone lines, including his cellular phone during the two-year investigation.
"Mr. Christie indicated in intercepted telephone calls that the ministry went through more than half a pound of marijuana a day and served about 60 to 70 customers a day," Nakakuni told reporters at a news conference in Honolulu Friday.

After federal agents raided his offices and his home in March, Christie spoke to the website Big Island Video News.
"I was very compliant with the search warrant, happy to be cooperative. Because I feel like I have nothing to hide," Christie told Big Island Video News.

Federal investigators said Christie suggested a donation of $400 in exchange for an ounce of marijuana from customers, which is the approximate street value of pot.

"We provide cannabis sacraments and we're happy to do so. And it's a sacred thing to us. I think that I am a legitimate, exempt ministry," Christie said. "We're standing for religious freedom, using cannabis in private, at home or church. And it's a blessed, beautiful thing.”

But federal authorities said religious freedom does not apply to drug cases.

"It's still a violation of the federal controlled-substance act, and is therefore a violation of federal drug laws, which DEA enforces," said Robin Dinlocker, who heads Honolulu’s office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"There is a state medical marijuana law. There is no law that protects his allegations of using marijuana religiously," Nakakuni said.

Trials for the 14 defendants are set for September 8. Six of the 14 defendants have been released on bond. Eight of them, including Christie, remain in the federal detention center pending detention hearings next week. If convicted, they face terms of five to 40 years in prison.

Others Arrested In Marijuana Bust:
Sherryanne L. St. Cyr, 58
Susanne Lenore Friend, 46
Timothy M. Mann, 58
Richard Bruce Turpen, 59
Wesley Mark Sudbury, 32
Donald James Gibson, 40
Roland Gregory Ignacio, 49
Perry Emilio Policicchio, 50
John Debaptist Bouey III, 51
Michael B. "Dewey" Shapiro, 61
Aaron George Zeeman, 42
Victoria C. Fiore, 28
Jessica r. Walsh, also known as Jessica Hackman, 32

Nakakuni said the government will seek to seize several of the defendants' properties and $21,494 in cash.

The investigation was conducted by a joint team of Drug Enforcement Agency, the Hawaii County Police Department, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Postal Inspection Service, and Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Service, the Coast Guard, the State of Hawaii Narcotics Enforcement Division, the State Department of Public Safety and the Hawaii National Guard Counter Drug Unit.

- Article from KITV4 NEWS on July 9, 2010.

Comments

Organized Religion & Marijuana

look at the ages of the accused.. all of them _old people-
the baby is 28 the the senior is 61 -all pulling a scam
they are worse than any oily TV evangelist
exchanging an ounce of pot for a donation of street value
and they controlled the big scale cultivation of said pot
and sell it by the ounce at par...
and its a weed- prolific in its yield, easy to grow and prepare

people like this poison any positive thing cannabis brings us
so what if they are talking honeyed sunshine words
they were making big money
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
6400.00 a -day in sales
192,000.00 a -month ..
2,304,000.00 a -year ..
and as the cops were watching this ministry
tapping their phones for two years,
they raked in more than four and half million dollars
-- disgusting drug war profiteers
- where did that money go?
they had no church
no outreach program
they didn't help anybody else but themselves

this is rotton work rendered with fine words and warm smiles

poison? Clueless maybe

I hope you are not saying Cannabinoids are poisonous! Maybe you slipped but maybe you need to do your home work. After all it's just a plant...

Ya- yer right

its just a plant
and money is just paper
phone taps is just listenin' in
jail is just concrete and steel
& 5- 40 is just time

right on Brother, right on

agree

Yea, I agree...He was saying that people who work around the laws to distribute cannabis and then act like such a peaceful organization..they bring poison to the movement. Religion is enough bullshit..but to use that as an excuse to sell weed..that's pretty bad. I'm all for legalization..but don't profit through a loop hole. If they really cared..they would do it for free, then pass around that basket they have to take donation at church.....

Anonymous liar..we did give it for free last 43 years..Rev James

Kimmel,Rev.Dennis Shields,Rev.Jon Adler (RIP)and Roger-myself gave sacrament to anyone who attended our spiritual services.Never did we charge a penny. Your hatred of God may distort the reality of THC ministry which evolved from the Religion of Jesus Church 1967.Get some facts before you spout rubbish.

rotten work? did they find

rotten work? did they find anyone using this sacrament to be harmed by it???
likley not..but it against the stupid federal law that does not even allow substances to be used for religious purposes.
funny when most religions have been founded by mind bending.

DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ

THEY ONLY GOT 20K IN CASH, SO WHERE'S THE MILLIONS???
IT IS ALL A LIE DESIGNED TO TURN YOU AGAINST ROGER
HE IS A GOOD PERSON PROVIDING A NEEDED SERVICE IN THE OPEN
THE GOV'T SPENT MILLIONS AND IS GOING TO SPEND MILLIONS MORE TO LOCK UP
A 61 YEAR OLD MAN WHO HAS VICTIMIZED NO ONE EXCEPT THE STATE WHO HAS A
STATED INTEREST IN CONTINUE TO SUPPORT VIOLENCE BY INCREASING THE PROFIT THOUGH THEIR UNWARRANTED PROHIBITION ON A PLANT THAT G-D GAVE MAN TO USE

If this is a well paid BUSH-DEA troll we understand...if we find

that this is a CC family insider who hate spirit. Well,we expect for drama's sake that HarperBUSH police would talk like this,but not our fellow FREE MARC movement friends. Your religious-human-healing rights are the most fundamental-- important, therefore, sacred on a secular law basis. No harm,no foul,no prison...that is the revolution of the constitution/covenant and democracy. Roger Christie just came back from a tour of Colorado,and establishment of new ministries....Look at the video and the fear in the body language of the procecutors. A whole phalanx of fraud, masquerading as legal authority. HalleluJAH our freedom will arrive soon....Vote YES in November,and write a letter to President Obama...FREE MARC-FREE ROGER-FREE EDDY LEPP- FREE PLANET EARTH.

Roger Christie my brother is guilty of sacrament belief...

You don't believe in sacred human rights? Use your name and debate me! This man is as pure as a celestial spring. There might be some atheistic CC voices that stay anonymous,and hate spiritual usage.? We in this Ministry of THC-LOVE will never stop innovating the message that THC-HEMP medicine and utility will be the healing of the nations,and bring peace/love to a sick planet. The BUSH-DEA can prevaricate,deceive and propagandize the general public. Yet,let it be said, at the CC family --- Roger Christie and his 30 year daily walk to legalize cannabis/hemp--WILL NOT BE DENIED !!! They brought the FED aganist him since a local jury will not convict ??? I'll find out the details..yet we must support Roger and all these brothers/sisters of CC love.

stop babling in your own private language

ray christl has never posted anything that made even the slightest sense. His posts barely qualify as language.

We pray that BUSH-DEA trolls make enough $$ to justify the filth

and scummy disinformation you enjoy writing about. Roger Christie is the most beautiful person on this planet,and to besmirch his ministry is a grand perversion.The police-mafia pigs that control this world will eventually be replaced with THC ministry elected officials. These loving people will heal our global society based on true moral principles,and healthy hemp cellulose.God bless Roger, and all cannabis culture family members !!!

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