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At one Hyde Park warehouse, workers lost their jobs rather suddenly last August; a DEA raid can have that effect

Inside the Hyde Park warehouse

Inside the Hyde Park warehouse. Photo from court document.

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A Milton woman was arrested yesterday on a federal charge that she ran a large-scale retail pot company that offered same-day home delivery and employed 25 people at a Hyde Park warehouse before it was shut down in a raid on Aug. 2.

Deana Martin, 51, was charged in US District Court with one count of conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.

Public court records do not specify where the Hyde Park warehouse that Martin used for her Northern Herb company was. However, an affidavit by a DEA agent on the case notes that Martin used a box at the Readville post office as one of several in the area for accepting deliveries of marijuana and pot products from growers in California and Oregon. Readville, which is full of warehouse space, is also close to Martin's home near Curry College.

According to the affidavit, Martin, who had previously run a string of unsuccessful baking and catering companies, proved pretty adept at the marijuana business, at least until the raids on her warehouse and home - she allegedly grossed $15 million between 2015 and August 2, 2018 by offering same-day delivery in eastern and central Massachusetts for people who ordered before 2 p.m.

On Aug. 2, federal agents found Martin at the Hyde Park warehouse, her 2017 Porsche Boxster parked outside. They also found $40,000 in cash there, and more than $114,000 at her Milton home, as well as a variety of marijuana strains and products - many already put into paper bags for customer delivery, the affidavit states. According to the affidavit, Martin listed monthly income of $80,000 in an application for a lease on a potential marijuana grow facility in California.

Up until the raids, done sometime after 1:03 p.m., when the company posted its last tweet, Martin had contracts with credit-card processing and point-of-sale companies, a corportate logo and a full-time office manager. She offered incentives to her sales staff based on how many pounds of marijuana they moved each month and periodically offered customers "a free gram of flower with every order." Three days before the raid, she also offered a 10% discount - and a further 10% donation to the American Cancer Society - to any customer who mentioned "the first name and last initial and the type of cancer of suffered by someone you know in your order notes."

Martin, the feds say, even compiled a written employee handbook setting out various job requirements, including one directing that "[c]urrency should be organized by denomination then made into $5000 stacks to be vac-sealed and stored." But since this was a company that complied with neither federal nor state marijuana laws, the handbook also had worst-case instructions, such as telling employees that "if arrested, they were to call Martin or Person 1 immediately."

The affidavit alleges Martin paid workers in cash and never paid any taxes herself to the IRS - and used a separate company to launder some of the sales proceeds.

Although the affidavit lists such alleged violations of federal law, it devotes a fair amount of space to detailing how she also allegedly violated Massachusetts marijuana laws - she had no licensing from the state to sell either medicinal or recreational marijuana.

Some of the cartridges offered on the company Twitter feed. :

Edibles

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

They had great product and selection and the operation worked well despite it being illegal. Always knew it would sadly come to an end at some point.

Also FYI those pictures are of oil cartridges not edibles ...

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Thanks!

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They aren't packaged like candy for children at NETA...compare with some of the packages from other states.

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im not sure of their size and scale but i know of two similar operations that are going strong today.

(allegedly)

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Those aren't edibles in the photo, those are cartridges for vape pens. "Carts" is short for "cartridges."

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And she seemed to be pretty good at it. What's the problem?

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She wasn't paying taxes, nor were her employees paying taxes, and she was laundering money among other things.

Forget about the weed aspect. She was violating dozens of laws which thousands of business owners and normal citizens obey even if they'd much rather pocket the money and skip and paperwork. Not cool.

It doesn't matter if you like the the product or not. She'd be in trouble if she was running an illegal plumbing supply company.

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Maybe she was paying California and Oregon taxes.

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I'm not saying it's right, I mean it is the law, but barbers, some waiters, people who do hair out of their house, things like that. A lot of them don't pay taxes. It comes down to supply and demand and if the government is/was too stupid to see that than that's there problem. People will always do drugs. Just like prohibition didn't work.

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If she was running the operation herself (like a barber) she probably wouldn't have gotten caught. But 25 people is serious employment. You think these people were insured? You think she was doing due diligence to make sure her suppliers weren't growing illegally in California parks and threatening native ecosystems and hikers? You think money laundering is a victimless crime?

People will always do drugs and those foolish enough to provide them will get caught. Life goes on.

As the legal side ramps up those who went through the process of getting a valid permit are going to be the first to rat on those who didn't.

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What does other people not paying their taxes have to do with anything?

Failure to pay taxes, by itself, is perfectly reasonable to prosecute.

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Her not paying taxes is irrelevant. There are rich people who don't pay taxes. There's lots of ways to avoid paying taxes. The bigger point being the government ignored a significant market. People are going to do drugs regardless of the laws. Someone will sell it to them. It's not that person's fault the government has decided they don't need the tax dollars from that market.

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And most of them are legal. Not reporting income (we are talking roughly a million dollars in personal income, let alone the corporate taxes the enterprise would be paying), on the other hand, is a big no no. That's how Al Capone went down. That's a huge charge against Michael Cohen. In short, don't blow off filing your taxes.

As for the weed itself, the moral of the story is to not make your business too big, or if you want to, make it legal. It's kind of hard for the authorities to ignore someone who is using a website to illegally sell marijuana.

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Mass didn't get their tax money? Whats her net, max 10% profit? 1.5 M in 3 years? Stash it off-shore. Dash when the time is right.

What if she pays the back taxes, can she get out of jail? Reduce time served? Plea deal?
Move out of state?

C'mon, its just a plant, f'gd'zooks. Helping people help each other....

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This was a federal bust, MA had little or nothing to do with it.

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She also didn't get her product tested per Massachusetts law:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/medical-use-of-marijuana-program-produ...
https://mass-cannabis-control.com/independent-testing-labs-authorized-to...

Which includes testing for "Non-organic pesticide residues, metals, and other organic chemicals (e.g., PCBs) taken up by plants from soil/growing media"/"water source" as well as for "Fungi/microbes "

And before you say this is a made up problem. It is in market available product. And a company missed it that was trying to comply to the law:
https://www.patriotledger.com/news/20181216/plymouth-medical-marijuana-s...

And other company ignored that requirement. This one was cited for "Obtaining wholesale cannabis that lacked labeling and test results."
https://mjbizdaily.com/massachusetts-regulators-close-medical-marijuana-...

And there is a tracking system she was not using
“The Cannabis Control Commission remains confident in the tracking system’s ability to detect discrepancies in the data, which licensees upload, that signal when potential public health and safety risks may exist,” Collins said. “To prevent diversion, the sale of contaminated products, and other issues, Commission investigators will continue to regularly inspect marijuana establishments to ensure they tag, upload, and trace all inventory correctly.”
https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2019/02/20/atg-salem-marijuana-di...

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The US Attorney appears to be playing up the scale of this bust because the office is concerned people will be like, “what’s the big deal? Isn’t this legal now?”

That’s a lot of weed but no more than I would expect a mid level weed dealer to have in their house. 25 employees? Is that full time on salary or is that just 25 people that you have agreed get 25% off the top of everything they move? They make it sound like there is a warehouse with pallets and forklifts but I am sure the operation is much smaller based on the inventory and confiscated cash. More to this story, I’m sure.

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I used this service a few times, and it was pretty great. I was disappointed when the site just fell off the face of the Earth, but it's nice to have some closure.

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literally dozens and dozens of fly-by-night operations like this. Since Medical became legal in MA but there were no dispensaries until practically the day RECREATIONAL became legal, there was instant demand for such services. Knew one person with a med card that used them for deliveries, and others. I told them as much, that they were all illegal, but you can't argue results (although sometimes they were getting stuff with seeds in it, def amateur hour operations just re-packaging commercial black market product).
The website Leafly gladly posted their ads or listings or menus or contact info or whatever. I would assume the DEA/MA AG has a keen eye on them too for enabling illegal activities.
Its sort of incredible how blatant she was and got away with it for so long. Kind of pissed I didn't try it. I like Porsches too.

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There are some other rather high speed delivery services around

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Best company I’ve used yet hand down. Unmatched variety, price, and professionalism. I too, was very sad to see them go. I hope she was smart enough to stash away most of the dough where they can’t get it, and she gets a slap on the wrist.

Shame on you Massachusetts politicians for f’in this law up so bad! Her company (minus the not paying taxes part) is what legal cannabis in this state should be.

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The people already paid taxes when they earned the money. The problem is they are not paying taxes when they spend their money. Although, taxes were being paid by the front company she set up to process the money. As I see it the problem is that taxes were not paid three times on the same money. There were no complaints about her dis-honesty or the quality of the product. Meanwhile Exxon_Mobil makes over 100 Billion Dollars poisoning our planet and pays zero taxes AND gets a refund check for over 350 Million Dollars. The poor lady that is meeting a critical need goes to jail. Remember, as a juror you have an absolute right at jury nullification. If I was on a jury I would insist that the the lady be awarded costs, including attorney's fees for the negligence of the Commonwealth for failing to provide the needed services for years after the people ordered it to be done.

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buying legal weed in Massachusetts is a fucking chore. Two or three companies (unfairly) dominate it, and the product blows. They shut down an organization that had an infrastructure, was reliable, and delivered quality weed. I want the state to be able to generate money through legalization, but they should get their shit together, and let people get good product the way they always have.

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Then drop all of the charges.

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