A national drug syndicate disguising itself as a small Greeley medical marijuana grow traded in cryptocurrency and had drug pipelines to eight states, federal documents in Denver U.S. District Court reveal.
Photo provided by Weld County Sheriff
The sophisticated drug operation used bitcoin as currency in drug deals in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming, according to federal court documents.
Prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer’s office on Tuesday filed a forfeiture claim Tuesday seeking court authorization to seize drug ring assets including four homes, 31.4 bitcoin worth about $279,143 at one point Friday, and $912,443 found in bank safe-deposit boxes, storage sheds, cars and homes.
The case demonstrates the lengths syndicates will go to launder drug proceeds without putting large sums of currency into federally insured banks to avoid discovery, Troyer’s office said in a news release.
Six members of the alleged illegal marijuana grow operation have been charged with various felonies in Weld County District Court.
Randall Zandstra of Longmont, the alleged leader of the drug ring, has been charged in two separate cases. He is accused of drug conspiracy, marijuana cultivation and distribution, money laundering and tax evasion. Others facing drug conspiracy charges include Jesus Perez and Donald Saathoff, each of whom also face marijuana related charges. Tyler Greco, Michael Conway and David Tobias have been charged with marijuana-related charges.
The legal status of numerous other purported members of the drug ring arrested across the country, were not detailed in the federal court document.
Zandstra, 55, has been involved in crime long enough to earn his own episode on the crime documentary TV series “I (Almost) Got Away With It.” In 2007, he was arrested when cops found an illegal pot grow in a suburban Greeley neighborhood and later was sent to prison for