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United States v. Evan Corum and Ryan Blindheim (2011-2013, Flathead County, MT)

posted Feb 21, 2013, 4:18 AM by The Editor   [ updated Feb 25, 2013, 12:41 AM ]
On July 6, 2011, Evan Corum and Ryan Blindheim of the Black Pearl medical cannabis operation were among the several medical patients indicted in Missoula, MT federal court for conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and maintaining drug-involved premises.   The full set of charges carried a minimum term of five years in prison and the possibility of up to 40 years, fines of up to $5 million, and at least four years’ supervised release.  Both Corum and Blindheim acquiesced to federal government pressure to plead guilty to a reduced set of charges, drastically cutting the potential length of their prison sentences.

Prior to the sentencing of Corum and Blindheim by U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy in December 2011, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott stated in an Offer of Proof that the government would have shown in trial that the pair founded and maintained a [medical] marijuana grow in Olney, MT.  Ryan Blindheim was accused of purchasing a location, transforming it for marijuana cultivation, and growing over 100 marijuana plants while he was observed by the federal government from October 2010 through March 14, 2011.  During the March 2011 raid, agents seized 488 plants and 70 pounds of dried marijuana.

Evan Corum, a 35-year-old resident of Whitefish, MT, was sentenced on December 1, 2011 to one year in prison (including 6 months of house arrest), three years of supervised release, forfeiture of $86,850, and a special assessment of $100.  The sentencing following Corum's guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.  Ryan Blindheim, a 34-year-old resident of Whitefish, received a sentence of 18 months in prison, four years of supervised release, forfeiture of $86,850, and a $200 special assessment fine.  Blindheim was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and money laundering.

The federal government claimed that when questioned by law enforcement, Blindheim admitted that cash transactions observed by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations at Whitefish Credit Union and Glacier Bank were related to the "manufacture and distribution of marijuana."  (Or in state terminology, being a legal "medical marijuana patient.")  The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Last updated February 21, 2013 by Jessica Lux for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:


"Evan James Corum Sentenced in U.S. District Court." DEA.gov. United States Department of Justice, 1 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20111201144656.html>.

"Ryan Gifford Blindheim Sentenced in U.S. District Court." DEA.gov. United States Department of Justice, 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20111220143150.html>.
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