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.