Christie faces more charges
By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Trial has again been delayed for marijuana advocate Roger Christie and prosecutors have filed additional charges against him as well.
Christie, founder of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, had been scheduled to start trial on Wednesday on federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess 100 or more marijuana plants, plus manufacturing and possessing with intent to distribute 284 marijuana plants.
Trial is now scheduled for March 19, the seventh trial date set in the case, although it may be delayed further.
“Defense counsel has requested more time and there’s currently an effort to have it continued,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara, the lead prosecutor, said Wednesday.
On Jan. 17, a federal grand jury in Honolulu returned an updated indictment against Christie and seven co-defendants.
“It just adds some additional charges with respect to Roger Christie. There were three purchases by an undercover officer of marijuana from him during 2008 and there were also two charges of his failure to file income tax returns for 2008 and 2009,” Kawahara said.
Christie still faces between five and 40 years in a federal penitentiary if convicted.
“That has not changed with the offenses that have been re-alleged against him,” Kawahara said.
An arraignment on the new indictment is scheduled for Feb. 1 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu, although defendants can waive appearances at arrignments through counsel, Kawahara said.
Christie’s downtown Hilo ministry and Wainaku apartment were raided March 10, 2010, by the feds and local police. According to court documents, authorities confiscated approximately 845 grams of processed marijuana from the apartment, along with $21,494 cash found in a safe in the apartment and in a bank safe deposit box. The money and the apartment face possible federal forfeiture.
The 63-year-old Christie has been in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center without bail since he and 13 other Big Island residents were arrested by federal agents on July 8, 2010. In denying bail, Federal Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang has called Christie “a danger to the community.”
All of Christie’s co-defendants were granted bail, but one, 62-year-old Richard Bruce Turpen, had his bail revoked after he violated terms of his release by being arrested for domestic abuse on March 25, 2011. He’s also in custody in the Honolulu federal lockup.
Another co-defendant, Wesley Mark Sudbury, “is a fugitive,” Kawahara said. A warrant was issued for his arrest on Sept. 17, 2010.
The remaining co-defendants are: Sherryanne “Share” Christie, Roger Christie’s wife; Roland Gregory Ignacio; Perry Emilio Polichcchio; John Debaptist Bouey III; and Aaron George Zeeman.
Six co-defendants have made plea deals with the prosecution to cooperate with authorities. They are: Timothy M. Mann, Susanne Lenore Friend, Donald James Gibson, Michael B. “Dewey” Shapiro, Victoria C. Fiore, and Jessica R. Walsh, aka Jessica Hackman.
A call on Wednesday to Christie’s lawyer, Thomas Otake, was not returned by press time.
Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune- herald.com.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.