Mark Moen, OC Weekly's "Marijuana Martyr," Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering
Mark Moen, the former owner and operator of Lake Forest's 215 Agenda medical marijuana dispensary, has pleaded guilty to 73 counts of money laundering, four counts of selling marijuana, two counts of possessing it with the intent to sell, and one count of possessing more than $100,000 in cash from what the Orange County District Attorney refers to as "narcotics proceeds."
In addition to all that, Moen's plea deal required him to admit to a pair of sentencing enhancements: laundering more than $150,000 in cash and "crime-bail-crime," which is a fancy way of saying that Moen was on already on bail for a previous crime when he was arrested on the drug charges.
The Weekly highlighted Moen's case in an April 2010 cover story, "Marijuana Martyr," which detailed how his troubles began on June 28, 2009 when the California Highway Patrol pulled him over near Ukiah with a small amount of marijuana and $72,000 in cash. During a traffic stop in Huntington Beach on Sept. 30 of that year, cops busted Moen again, this time with $145,000. Moen told the officers the money belonged to his dispensary, 215 Agenda, which was one of several such establishments (all which closed either before or after the federal government seized the property late last year) located in a low-rent strip mall on Raymond Way.
The DA's press release on Moen's conviction, like the agency's initial one on Moen's case two years ago, accuses him of having "illegally operated" a dispensary and appears to take special offense at the fact that he advertised for "FREE MARIJUANA" in OC Weekly, even boasting "We carry the Best Weed in the entire World!"
Had Moen taken his case to a jury and been convicted on all counts, he could have spent decades behind bars. By reaching a plea deal, however, Moen received a sentence of three years in state prison, and with credit for time served (several months behind bars at the Orange County Men's Jail) he now faces just a few years of probation.
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