Guilty plea for owner of West Seattle medical-marijuana enterprise GAME Collective

August 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 39 Comments

The owner of a West Seattle marijuana dispensary, who also briefly operated one in White Center, has pleaded guilty to a federal charge. That announcement came late today from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which says Brionne Corbray, owner of the GAME Collective dispensary, faces up to 40 years in prison. Here is the full text of the news release we just obtained, detailing the pleas entered today both by Corbray and by dispensary operators in two other neighborhoods:

The owners of two different marijuana distribution enterprises pleaded guilty today in federal court to drug trafficking, admitting they were selling large quantities of marijuana for profit, in violation of federal and state law, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. BRIONNE KEITH CORBRAY, 47, owner and operator of three G.A.M.E Collectives in White Center, Northeast Seattle and West Seattle pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana.

CRAIG DOUGLAS DIEFFENBACH, 61, and JINGJING MO, 31, owners of Seattle Cannabis Cooperative with locations in the Rainier Valley and Greenwood, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. CORBRAY is scheduled for sentencing by the Honorable Ricardo S. Martinez on November 16, 2012. DIEFFENBACH and MO are scheduled for sentencing by Chief Judge Marsha J. Pechman on December 6, 2012. Both drug distribution companies were identified by law enforcement last October for selling large amounts of marijuana in violation of federal and state law.

“These drug fronts had little to do with ‘compassionate care’ and everything to do with lining their own pockets,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “While we will not prosecute ill people or their true care providers, we also will not let common drug dealers masquerade as something they are not.”

“These defendants have accepted responsibility for their illegal actions which exposes the truth of what is happening in our community,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “There is no accommodation in either state or federal law which allows marijuana storefronts to openly operate within the State of Washington. The United States Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that its distribution and sale is a serious federal crime. The DEA remains fully committed to enforcing federal drug laws throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

According to the facts admitted in CORBRAY’s plea agreement, undercover agents were able to purchase marijuana at his establishments on multiple occasions without a valid medical authorization. At some of the locations agents purchased both hashish and marijuana. At the White Center location, CORBRAY encouraged customers to consume or smoke marijuana on the premises while also drinking alcohol. CORBRAY was also alleged to have promoted after-hours parties where both alcohol and marijuana were served. CORBRAY admits purchasing a 2007 Mercedes Benz E550W for $34,000 cash. The money was drug proceeds and the car is being forfeited to the federal government.

In the plea agreements for DIEFFENBACH and MO, each admits operating the marijuana stores for profit, selling pound quantities of marijuana to people who presented no medical authorization card. In her plea agreement, MO admits offering to sell 25 pounds of marijuana for distribution across the country. The couple also admits laundering funds from the sale of marijuana to pay to modify homes for marijuana production.

Conspiracy to distribute marijuana is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Conspiracy to launder money is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vince Lombardi.

The GAME Collective case traces back to an investigation that started more than a year ago and culminated in searches last November – here’s one of our reports from last fall.

39 Comments

  1. Can one assume that Mr. Corbray was somehow involved with the short-lived resto/lounge of the same name that occupied the Benbow location before Heartland moved in?

    Comment by islewrite — 5:50 pm August 20, 2012 #

  2. Wow. That is quantity. Can we just please legalize and tax it?

    Comment by me on 28th Ave SW — 5:53 pm August 20, 2012 #

  3. If it truly is for medicinal purposes then have it go through the same process that every other drug has to go through to be “shelf ready”. There is a proper process through FDA, not voters.

    Comment by whitecenter — 6:18 pm August 20, 2012 #

  4. Oh No! 25lbs of pot! That’s almost a small percentage of all the weed that was openly and peacefully smoked over the weekend at hempfest. Who will save us from these monsters? Where is the for-profit prison industry when you need them? Please find a drunken hypocrite to explain the damage done by marijuana to our community. Last but not least “what about the children”?
    The lesson here is the government wants their cut.

    Comment by Jones — 6:28 pm August 20, 2012 #

  5. A guilty plea to a federal charge is most likely to avoid harsher punishment. I think also the person may not be able to vote for the rest of their lives after a federal conviction. We do need to legalize and regulate marijuana and I think the majority of Americans have felt that way for a long time. There are far more dangerous drugs I would like to see our law enforcement focus on and would rather see marijuana drift away from those drugs in the black market.

    Comment by cj — 6:47 pm August 20, 2012 #

  6. @ whitecenter: “There is a proper process through FDA, not voters.” Of course you don’t want the will of the people to prevail, marijuana prohibition is undemocratic and unconstitutional. You think that we should exist to serve our gov, not the other way around. Many attempts at introducing marijuana reform in Congress have failed to get a committee hearing. Presidents will not discuss the matter, other than to “stay the course”. Gallup reports 50% in favor of legalization, only 46% opposed. Congress’ approval rating is only 16%. Your “FDA approval process” is nothing more than a stalling tactic, not a real solution. Once several states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, the feds will repeal it, just like when New York repealed alcohol prohibition ten years before the feds did.

    Comment by kevin — 7:26 pm August 20, 2012 #

  7. He faces up to 40 years while the hit and run driver that KILLED bicyclist Michael Wang got off with less than 4 years…

    Comment by mehud7 — 7:53 pm August 20, 2012 #

  8. I feel safer now.

    Comment by Rob — 7:57 pm August 20, 2012 #

  9. 40 years?Really? People that beat and kill dont even get that long in prison.

    Comment by Alki Resident — 8:22 pm August 20, 2012 #

  10. Amen Alki Resident! And they’ll probably have to serve and pay everything.

    Comment by bsmomma — 8:37 pm August 20, 2012 #

  11. Tax & legalize!!!! Prohibition never works!

    Comment by WestsideMom — 8:48 pm August 20, 2012 #

  12. I am with Alki R……get over it, make it legal and tax in 20% + like alcohol already.

    Comment by RJB — 8:52 pm August 20, 2012 #

  13. Greedy bastards. But 40 yrs? How bout trading sentences with the alki shooter? That guy’s gonna get far less but could have immediately done more harm than this pot selling a-hole.

    Comment by NW Momma — 9:09 pm August 20, 2012 #

  14. That is ridiculous. What a waste of taxpayer money. Telling people what they can do with their own lives and money never ends. No marijuana, no plastic bags, no large sodas… Sheesh.

    Comment by Tuesday — 9:15 pm August 20, 2012 #

  15. I think the guy who killed someone in Fauntleroy for drug money got 11 years. Wow. This is crazy.

    Comment by kgdlg — 9:22 pm August 20, 2012 #

  16. I don’t agree with the punishment either. But you have to know the rules when you play a game. The prosecutor didn’t make up the charges, they are on the books. The majority of people don’t sell weed, because they are afraid of the punishment. The reason why weed is so expensive is because it is illegal, he played the game and lost.
    .
    I feel for the guy, but I can’t pay 34K cash for a car. He obviously sold more than 25 pounds if he could drop 34K on a car.
    .
    Keep in mind, there were lots of guys in jail for alcohol crimes during and after prohibition (repeal didn’t set you free). The sentences were probably “unfair” then too. There was “medicinal” alcohol but I’d wager that most of the guys making lots of money running booze weren’t supplying just medicinal alcohol either.

    Comment by Eric1 — 9:45 pm August 20, 2012 #

  17. Beat cannabis prohibition with jury nullification!

    Comment by nimbles — 10:48 pm August 20, 2012 #

  18. waste of taxpayer money etc, but this guy was pretty flagrant. i recall seeing the clientele that pulled into his west seattle shop…

    Comment by steve — 11:08 pm August 20, 2012 #

  19. How many times can people say that garbage? Cannabis is schedule I which means you cannot test it for medical reasons without the ONDCP and DEA signing off… Fox guarding the henhouse!

    There is NO path to legalization threw he FDA. The simplest way is the USAG’s authority to evoke the findings of Nixon’s Shafer Commission and DEschedule cannabis. That would require an executive order to actually happen IMO, but it could happen in 10 mins.

    I do realize that the state and federal laws would have to detangled in addition to the drug treaties we strong armed the rest of the world to sign in the first place… USA, USA, USA! /sigh

    Over a plant that can’t kill you, and has thousands of uses like running our cars and biodegradable plastics. Wonder why it’s illegal…

    Comment by Chris in WI — 11:18 pm August 20, 2012 #

  20. Lets just keep things the way they are, that way Mexican Drug Lords can kill and dismember innocent and not so innocent people. That way we can pay to incarcerate those who have done no physical harm to others, that way can feel good about the “war on drugs” and that way we can clean up the streets of Seattle. Yep, that way we can keep on denying that those who take a toke, and heavens there suppliers, r human too.

    Comment by Dale — 11:34 pm August 20, 2012 #

  21. It’s simply amazing the religionist like faith that some people propose that we place in the FDA when one considers how many 10s of thousands of people suffer an FDA approved death every year.

    When the FDA is actually ready to test medicines and approve or disapprove based on the science there might be a point. Until then the argument is a lame assertion of form over substance. Those making the argument have no concern whatever for the needs of the sick.

    BTW my doctor recommends that I use various food supplements and quantities of vitamins larger than the RDA because of stomach surgery I underwent in 2007. Neither the food supplements nor the vitamins have undergone FDA approval, nor are they required to do so. This lame argument fails at every level.

    Comment by Duncan20903 — 7:22 am August 21, 2012 #

  22. @whitecentr,
    Did you know that MerrWanna WAS legal otc. prior to 1937,and it was listed in the American pharmacopeia,cannabis Indica. Funny,there didn’t appear to be as much violence or gang involvement BEFORE our stupid government decided to prohibit it. I guess the feds needed another prohibition to enforce since they did such a steller job with prohibiting alcohol.
    To answer directly your question as to why MJ is not FDA approved,it is because the federal government will not allow companies or research labs to grow or possess MJ. DR.Lyle Cracker petitioned the feds for 10 years for permission to grow cannabis for his research at Amherst Mass. but the feds stonewalled him,he finally gave up.The feds will not allow research into the benefits of MJ.

    Comment by Justin Hale — 8:51 am August 21, 2012 #

  23. these guys are scumbags and give the medical cannabis community a black eye but the comments from the sea guy are disgusting since they kill more innocent people than cannabis with there paramilitary actions

    Comment by Nick — 9:20 am August 21, 2012 #

  24. It’s my understanding that the FDA has nothing to do with public health but everything to do with corporations, drug companies. The irony; corporations are people too, my friend.

    Comment by RG — 9:36 am August 21, 2012 #

  25. Simple. Vote yes on I-502.

    http://www.newapproachwa.org/content/initiative

    I agree with mehud7. Absolutely appalling that the driver who killed Michael Wong (hit and run none the less) only gets 4 years.

    Comment by Amanda — 10:58 am August 21, 2012 #

  26. Legalize and Apologize !!! Treat cannabis like tomatoes and aspirine. You can grow some in your yard or buy some at the store with a label like on the aspirine bottle, which says “keep out of the reach of children.” This even though while aspirine is deadly, cannabis is perfectly safe.

    Comment by bruce marsh — 11:26 am August 21, 2012 #

  27. The game was full of crooks. They didnt pay their growers. They owe many people large sums of money. I am so glad they are gone. I feel bad for his wife and kids.

    Comment by Izzy — 11:37 am August 21, 2012 #

  28. Honestly, does anyone who supports the ‘legalize and tax’ view and who’s NOT high seriously think these guys who pleaded guilty will voluntarily pay some tax and agree to abide by some new laws if we were to legalize pot? Marijuana should not be legalized. It’s not smart, and it’s not good for your health, or any child’s health. And yes, it’s different from drinking a few beers, we all know that, and we all know how awful it is that so many stupid people drink and drive, too. But if you think it through, you see new, unmet problems that legalizing pot will pose in terms of endangering people on the roads. For example, you can measure BAC and enforce DUI as a crime in large part because law enforcement can fairly quantify when someone has too much alcohol in their blood. That cannot, to my knowledge, be done with a person who smokes pot and drives. So while we know pot impairs your ability to drive safely, and it should be a crime to both smoke it and drive, if pot’s legalized, will driving while smelling like dope make you guilty of a crime? Since law enforcement has no way to yet fairly measure what amount of THC there is in someone’s blood at a given time, and they do not have roadside testing equipment at the ready for police to use to measure a driver’s THC levels, and the criminal laws don’t even yet exist to say what amounts of THC in the blood is the threshhold for being a crime, it’s stupid to say let’s just make our already dangerous roads even more dangerous. And as to all this tax collection BS — does anyone who’s NOT high think a huge tax windfall will result if we legalize it? Actually, if you’re not stoned, you know that people will just grow their own and ignore the tax. Or just not bother to pay. You see, police and the state are not going to just miraculously have loads of spare time to take up monitoring all this new legal landscape, if pot were legalized. Sounds like we want to create a whole new bureaucracy if we want all that. No police or DOR investigators will just suddenly pop up looking around to make sure people are paying their taxes. Heck, pot smokers will be too stoned to even remember to pay, probably. Plus, how can you tell if someone’s paid taxes on the joint they’re smoking? What, will police have probable cause to stop and demand proof of it? I’ve gone on and I’m sorry, this isn’t the place to fairly debate the issue — but neither is the ballot through the initiative process. I think all this legalization talk is foolishness, but if we need to have that talk, let’s have it at the legislature. There, all facets of this can be considered. Hearings can allow everyone to be heard. But to just decide this on a “yes/no” line-item choice on some poorly worded initiative where only 25% of people vote and where most of the ones who even bother to vote don’t even have a clue about what they’re voting on? That is crazy. If the legislature were to have the deliberative debate and hearings that would allow for the issue to be rationally considered, there could only be one sane result: that legalization’s a bad idea.

    Bottom line: no, someone with a joint shouldn’t take up jail space. And for the record, I know the hypocritical history of criminalization of pot. I’ve read NORML’s propoganda, about the racist past, hemp in the war, etc. etc. But legalization’s not the answer — it’s an ill-conceived pipe dream. Yes there’s a problem. But the solution isn’t in a knee-jerk initiative vote. This needs serious deliberative consideration. It’s just not ready for prime time, not yet.

    Comment by (required) — 12:36 pm August 21, 2012 #

  29. (required),

    Wow I agree with most of what you said except “This needs serious deliberative consideration. It’s just not ready for prime time, not yet.”.

    We have been deliberating since the thirties. It’s time to do something.

    Comment by WsEd — 1:29 pm August 21, 2012 #

  30. @required, are you saying that people are growing tobacco because they can? I realize that there is some limited black market tobacco activity but to suggest that the government isn’t able to tax it because everyone just grows their own is silly. Right now the government gets ZERO of the billions spent on pot. Anything would be better than nothing. I can tell you are passionate about the subject so I know I won’t change your mind no matter what but it’s time to do something different because what we have been doing isn’t working.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 1:31 pm August 21, 2012 #

  31. Okay required. Did you actually READ the initiative? Point A) Smoking and driving. If you get pulled over and the cops think you are stoned, they will haul you to a hospital to get your blood tested, or call an EMT to the site. They will take your blood and will count the active THC in your system. B) Taxes. You will only be able to buy pot from licensed places – just like state run liquor stores of yore. Your purchase price will include the state taxes. Growers will need to claim B&O just like anyone else. And if you don’t, you will be penalized and if you are illegally growing, it’s a crime. C) Your comments on “you must be high”, or “you must be stoned” to think this will work are silly and immature. Bottom line(s) – farmers will be able to grow industrial hemp. We will be the ONLY state in America to be able to do that. Right now, hemp is imported from China and Canada. Hemp is used (can be, will be) for a ton of products that can boost our economy tremendously. It’s not just about “wahoo, now we can be treated like adults and make decisions for ourselves”. It’s an actual industry that can help Washington state’s economy. The Initiative was not written by pot heads. It is time to legalize and regulate something that 40% of people have admitted to smoking. Stop the DARE tactics and let’s move forward in a positive manner.

    Comment by Amanda — 1:40 pm August 21, 2012 #

  32. @required,what a bunch of nonsense.
    1st ignorant comment ” It’s not smart, and it’s not good for your health, or any child’s health. ”
    2nd ignorant comment “ So while we know pot impairs your ability to drive safely, ”
    3rd ignorant comment” Since law enforcement has no way to yet fairly measure what amount of THC there is in someone’s blood at a given time,”
    4th ignorant comment ” , this isn’t the place to fairly debate the issue — but neither is the ballot through the initiative process.”
    5th ignorant comment” . If the legislature were to have the deliberative debate and hearings that would allow for the issue to be rationally considered, there could only be one sane result: that legalization’s a bad idea.”
    6th ignorant comment” But legalization’s not the answer — it’s an ill-conceived pipe dream. Yes there’s a problem. But the solution isn’t in a knee-jerk initiative vote. This needs serious deliberative consideration. ”
    Why bother with serious debate? You already declared legalization is not the answer,and most of your ideas are ignorant.

    Comment by Justin Hale — 3:35 pm August 21, 2012 #

  33. @required needs to put down the cool aid. All the science shows no harm, BUT society has pretty much accepted minors cannot us intoxicants, so legalize and regulate! But let’s be real. Cannabis has been shown to stimulate neuron GROWTH, it doesnt kill brain cells. You don’t get to pick your “facts”. Evidence states stoned driving (which happens daily already) is not a problem worth prohibition. If it was, you couldnt justify alcohol!

    ZERO deaths ever! Perspective. What about the article “new billion dollar crop” in 1938? I mean how can you research this for 10 mins without coming to the conclusion a bunch of rich white guys didn’t want to compete with hemp after the decoritor was introduced to the US.

    Sorry to be everywhere, but this drives me mad. The science shows it’s safe AND medicine! And now the cops self fund with asset forfeiture, it’s SO crooked! Freedom is getting to choose good AND bad choices!

    Comment by Chris in WI — 9:56 pm August 21, 2012 #

  34. @required

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

    Comment by Ouch! — 11:17 pm August 21, 2012 #

  35. The FDA approved oxycontin and adderall, great stuff for society.

    Comment by johnny comelately — 11:29 pm August 21, 2012 #

  36. I-502 supporters are on here acting like its legalization and yes I’ve read it. the dui provision will end up locking up more non intoxicated people because it is based on junk science. Colorado decided not to implement this because the active THC test does not prove impairment. also the price will be so high the black market will still thrive. so basically this is not legalization with regulation. its a state run monopoly that will fail because the feds will file an injunction. but we will still ne left with a terrible dui provision. yea

    Comment by Nick — 8:16 am August 22, 2012 #

  37. GAME Collective, one of many of the so called “caring and compassionate” providers of Med Marijuana shows their true colors. They were in it for the money. Nothing more and nothing less. Why else buy and drive a $34k Benz. Scammers.

    Comment by Down In Delridge — 10:19 am August 22, 2012 #

  38. Greedy bastards? These poor folks are such small fry and their possible sentences are a travesty of justice. I prefer we save the term “greedy bastards” for the truly destructive and much larger greed of corporations who diminish our culture, our economy, and our natural resources.

    Comment by Carol — 12:37 pm August 22, 2012 #

  39. No need to write any more laws! Decriminalize marijuana possession, distribution, and sales.

    Tax evasion already illegal
    Violent crimes already illegal
    Reckless driving already illegal
    Child endangerment already illegal
    and on………….

    Comment by Ace20604 — 3:07 pm August 22, 2012 #

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