Medical marijuana: Nathan Do, target in Cherry Top Farms raid, killed in crash

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As we've previously reported, law enforcers from the DEA and other agencies raided Cherry Top Farms on October 13, seizing 2,500 plants and shutting down the dispensary, which never reopened. However, none of Cherry Top's personnel were busted or charged with wrongdoing.

The same could not be said of Nathan, 21 at the time of the arrest (he was 22 when he died), and his father, Ha Do, then 48. They were both fitted with cuffs that day, with Ha's brother Hai Do and Richard Crosse, respectively 44 and 48 as of last October, following suit. The four were charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants.

The Dos were all affiliated with Earth's Medicine, a dispensary on Federal Boulevard; Ha was the general manager, Nathan the cultivator and Hai the owner. As for Crosse, he owned a warehouse at 3885 Forrest where the trio installed a grow operation; he also allegedly invested approximately $325,000 in the operation, purchasing the equipment needed and leasing it back to the Do family.

What brought this quartet to the attention of federal authorities? The complaint in the case, on view below, suggested a high degree of cooperation between the DEA and the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division. Back in June, authorities shut down a Do grow operation on Forrest, with the Denver Police Department grabbing 1,865 plants -- and the complaint's narrative mentions interviews with DOR personnel, who revealed that the location didn't have a current or pending licensing permit to grow there.

No arrests were executed at that time; the seizure of the plants and equipment appears to have been the primary punishment. But the following month, a source who'd had business dealings with the Do family began providing information to the DEA and Denver Police. This source doubted the legitimacy of their MMJ business, hinting that the suspects were "grossly under-reporting their marijuana proceeds" and siphoning off weed for sale elsewhere. For instance, when the source spotted several large, unpackaged toy boxes, Nathan allegedly said they were being packed with marijuana and shipped to Chicago.

But something else was just as important to investigators, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner told us last year that "after their equipment was seized and their plants were seized, authorities learned that the Dos and Crosse went right back to the same location" -- that unlicensed, unpermitted 3885 Forrest site -- "and committed the same crime."

After further investigation confirmed this situation in the minds of investigators, they made plans to move in. But then, something unexpected happened.

Page down to continue reading about Nathan Do and the Cherry Top Farms raid.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts