Lazarus Pino, ex-marijuana dispensary owner, charged with beating, torturing pot thief

Lazarus Pino was once a medical marijuana rebel fighting against a move to shut down his dispensary.

Now, however, he's accused of being a common (or maybe uncommon) goon. Along with members of his family, including his mom, Pino has been charged with beating, torturing and shooting at a man who tried to pilfer some pot.

Pino owned MediGrow, a dispensary in Windsor. The town enacted a moratorium on medical marijuana retail operations in late 2009, although at that time, two centers were grandfathered in. But the day the moratorium was put in place, Windsor Mayor John Vasquez told us in the post linked above, Pino "came into a recorded public session -- we submitted the tape to a judge -- and stated that he had done four transactions that day, just to be open before the moratorium went in place."

That wasn't enough from the town's perspective, especially given Vazquez's description of MediGrow's base of operations.

"I went past his facility and he had no locks on the door, no security system in place and none of the necessary building permits pulled to do the improvements he was doing within the space," he said. "At the meeting, we explained that it wasn't just about being open. There were a lot more conditions to be met, and he hadn't met them."

Nonetheless, Pino stayed open, prompting Windsor to begin fining him $300 per day. By May, MediGrow had racked up 76 violations and $62,000 in fines.

Eventually, MediGrow was permanently shuttered and Pino faded from the headlines -- until recently, when he made a comeback for very different reasons. According to the Greeley Tribune, his father, Larry Pino, sixty, was killed in August after a fight with Dominick Ramirez, 46. Lazarus and two brothers, Absalom, 27, and Juan, 22, reportedly believe Ramirez raped an underage family member -- and they also accuse him of killing Larry, by throwing a large rock at him from a second-floor window.

Moments after the alleged assault on Larry, the Pino brothers attacked Ramirez in his apartment -- actions that resulted in assault charges against them. But these charges didn't produce a truce between the Pinos and the Ramirez clan. A Pino sister, Teresa, 26, was busted for obstructing a government operation and refusing to leave a public building on September 23 after hurling profanities at Dominick during a court appearance. And the Tribune notes that other members of both families "tangled in the hallways" at other times as well.

But that's a mere table-setter for what happened this week -- a tale revolving around Wyoming resident Craig McFarlin. He'd allegedly spotted large marijuana plants growing outside the Pino abode, and late on Monday, he decided to steal them. So he headed there, armed with a pillowcase he hoped to use to transport the weed.

Lazarus Pino at a 2010 benefit.
Lazarus Pino at a 2010 benefit.

Bad idea. Police reports say Lazarus and Juan spotted McFarlin jumping a fence, then tied him to a telephone pole and beat him with a two-by-four. They also threatened him with a long gun and a knife.

"I want your blood," the affidavit quotes Lazarus as saying. He also allegedly told McFarlin he was going to "die tonight," and charged him with being part of the "gang" that killed Larry. Then Lazarus is said to have made a video recording of McFarlin speaking the names of his wife and his daughter before the Pinos taped the pillowcase over his head.

The situation de-escalated after Pamela Pino, 57, the family matriarch, asked McFarlin if he planned to narc on them. When he said "no," she ordered him released. But after being driven back to Wyoming and tossed onto his front lawn, McFarlin, who suffered broken ribs, lacerations, contusions and abrasions to his head in the failed heist, decided against leaving the situation well enough alone. Instead, he recruited a neighbor, David Bailey, to take him back to the Pino place.

Bad idea number two. McFarlin told police that he again confronted assorted Pinos as they sat in a minivan with a rifle in sight. After another unpleasant exchange, Bailey hit the gas in his truck, and as they sped away, a shot from behind went through his vehicle's tailgate and into the cab, although somehow it missed human flesh.

McFarlin eventually reported these goings-on, and after twenty to thirty minutes of negotiation between the Pinos and a SWAT team, authorities busted Lazarus on suspicion of attempted first-degree homicide, second-degree kidnapping, first-degree assault and felony menacing -- the same allegations for which Juan was arrested earlier in the day. As for Pamela, she's accused of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault and menacing.

Will Lazarus rise again? Much too soon to tell -- but it sure as hell won't be easy.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Medical marijuana dispensary banned in Windsor now patient resource center."

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