As part of an ongoing federal investigation, the previous owner of VIP Cannabis dispensary in Denver has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.
Gerardo Uribe pled guilty to marijuana possession and conspiracy to possess marijuana charges, with a sentence of 90 days of jail time and a year of probation. Federal prosecutors offered this as an alternative to additional charges of money laundering and up to 20 years in prison.
Two other suspects, Luis Uribe and Columbian businessman Hector Diaz, both reached similar plea deals. Luis Uribe, Gerardo Uribe’s brother, also pled guilty to marijuana possession and conspiracy to possess marijuana. He agreed to testify against his brother and declined to contest the seizure of his property, which included $800,000 in cash and several cars. The seizure was part of the largest federal raid on record against Colorado’s medical marijuana industry.
Hector Diaz pled guilty to visa fraud committed in facilitation of drug trafficking and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. As part of the deal, he will cooperate with investigators to prosecute the Uribe brothers.
Federal prosecutors have yet to reach a deal with David Furtado, an attorney charged with allegedly laundered money from Columbia through several bank accounts located in Denver. Furtado is insisting he followed state and federal laws, and that his business activities are protected under a federal law that prohibits the Department of Justice from prosecuting state-level marijuana industries. He is seeking to have his indictment dismissed.