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United States v. Richard Flor, Sherry Flor, and Justin Flor (2011-present, Miles City, MT)

posted Feb 3, 2013, 2:57 PM by The Editor   [ updated Jun 6, 2013, 3:31 AM ]
In March 2011, federal authorities launched a statewide crackdown on Montana medical marijuana providers.  Criminal search warrants were executed on 26 locations in 13 Montana cities on March 14, 2011.  Approximately thirty law enforcement agencies were involved in the raids, which occurred at the culmination of an 18-month investigation.

Richard Flor, wife Sherry Flor, and son Justin Flor operated a caregiver business from their home in Miles City and at a Billings dispensary.  Flor was Montana's first registered caregiver after the state approved medical marijuana in 2004.  Flor was also a founding member of Montana Cannabis, which was one of the state's largest medical marijuana providers until it was raided by the DEA March 2011.  Sherry Flor kept the books and tended to the plants growing in the backyard of the family's home.  Justin Flor operated the Billings dispensary in addition to cultivating plants.

On June 30, 2011 the Flor family was arraigned on eleven felony counts, including manufacture, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of firearms during a drug trafficking offense, money laundering, and criminal conspiracy. Each faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $5,000,000 fine and at least 5 years supervised release, according to a DOJ press release.

On April 19, 2012, U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell sentenced Richard Flor, age 68, to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release on a charge of conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises.  Sherry Flor was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, after she pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.  Justin Flor was sentenced to five years in prison and four years of supervised release on the conspirac
Cannabis POW Richard Flor (deceased in federal custody)
y charge after he was found to have violated the conditions of his pre-trial release.  The Flors forfeited their family home, six vehicles and trailers, firearms, and cash seized at the time of the raid.  They also were ordered to pay a $288,000 monetary judgement.

If the case had gone to trial, the Department of Justice would have presented evidence that a DEA agent observed over 30 marijuana plants growing in the yard of the family's home in July 2007, undercover agents purchased 4 ounces of marijuana at the same residence in October 2007, and agents observed an October 2008 Montana newspaper photograph showing more than 20 marijuana plants growing outdoors at the family's home.

At the time of his sentencing, Richard Flor suffered from dementia, diabetes, depression, hepatitis C, and
osteoporosis. Flor fractured four ribs after he fell out of his bed while being held in the general prison population after his arrest.  Judge Lovell recommended that he be evaluated by federal prison hospital officials for placement in a proper facility.  However, Richard Flor died before he reached his destination at a federal medical center.

Richard Flor died in federal custody in a Las Vegas, NV private prison facility on August 30, 2012.  After suffering two heart attacks and organ failure, Flor was placed on life support while still shackled to his bed, according to his lawyer.  His friend Montana marijuana patient advocate Tom Daubert wrote, "Twenty minutes after Flor died, federal marshals unlocked the shackles on his ankles, placed there despite the fact that Flor had long before lost the ability even to walk."

Last updated February 3, 2013 by Lex Libreman for WEED WARS: United States v. Marijuana.

Sources:

Daubert, Tom. "Montana Caregiver Richard Flor Dies in Federal Custody." West Coast Leaf. West Coast Leaf, 10 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://www.westcoastleaf.com/?p=5184>.

Hagengruber, Matt. "Marijuana Raids Built on Years of Investigation, Yield Millions from Bank Accounts." The Billings Gazette. The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT), 15 Mar. 2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2013. <http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/marijuana-raids-built-on-years-of-investigation-yield-millions-from/article_01f9d21f-b862-5ae5-bd48-7b17723d869d.html>.

Merritt, Jeralyn E. "A Medical Marijuana Death Sentence." TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime. TalkLeft, 1 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2013. <http://www.talkleft.com/story/2012/9/1/62813/18944>.

"Miles City Medical Marijuana Family Sentenced." The Billings Gazette. The Billings Gazette (Billings, MT), 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/miles-city-medical-marijuana-family-sentenced/article_2b668645-7cc7-531b-bd75-293ca54d5923.html>.

"Richard Giles Flor, Justin Lane Flor, and Sherry Lyn Flor Sentenced in U.S. District Court." USDOJ: US Attorney's Office. United States Department of Justice, 19 Apr. 2012. Web. 03 Feb. 2013. <http://www.justice.gov/usao/mt/pressreleases/20120419160534.html>.

Volz, Matt. "18 Months Later, Grim Times for Ex-Marijuana Providers." Flathead Beacon. Flathead Beacon (Kalispell, MT), 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2013. <http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/18_months_later_grim_times_for_ex_marijuana_providers/29605>.
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