Latest: Attorney: No evidence consultant possessed marijuana

AP News
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Posted: Aug 15, 2016 1:57 PM

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) — The Latest on two consultants charged in a failed plan to open the nation's first marijuana resort (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

The attorney for a consultant facing drug charges in connection with a Native American tribe's failed effort to open the nation's first marijuana resort says the drug for the operation never belonged to this client.

Attorney Mike Butler is defending Eric Hagen, the CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America. Butler says he is unaware of any evidence showing that his client possessed "even a gram of marijuana."

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley filed three charges against Hagen on Aug. 3. Hagen pleaded not guilty Monday to conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

Butler says Jackley is proceeding under a "legal fiction" against Hagen.

Another consultant in the resort plan, Jonathan Hunt, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count Monday.

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9:55 a.m.

A consultant from Colorado has pleaded not guilty to possession and other drug charges related to a failed attempt to establish the nation's first marijuana resort at a Native American reservation.

Eric Hagen was charged Aug. 3 with conspiracy to possess, possession and attempt to possess more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

Hagen entered a not-guilty plea Monday in Flandreau, South Dakota.

The state's top prosecutor filed the charges against Hagen, the CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America, months after tribal leaders destroyed the marijuana crop over fears of a federal raid.

Another consultant in the resort plan, Jonathan Hunt, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count Monday.

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9:45 a.m.

One of two consultants who worked with a Native American tribe on its plans to open the nation's first marijuana resort has pleaded guilty to a drug offense in South Dakota.

Jonathan Hunt is the cultivation expert who oversaw the first marijuana crop of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. He entered his plea to a drug conspiracy count for his role in the planned resort on Monday in Flandreau.

The state's top prosecutor filed drug-related charges Aug. 3 against Hunt and Eric Hagen, CEO of the Colorado-based consulting firm Monarch America, months after tribal leaders destroyed the marijuana crop over fears of a federal raid.

Court documents show the 43-year-old Hunt, of Denver, ordered marijuana seeds from a Dutch company that were shipped surreptitiously to the tribe's office in 2015.