FLANDREAU, S.D. — A South Dakota jury on Wednesday cleared a consultant on trial for drug charges after he helped an American Indian tribe pursue a marijuana resort on tribal land.

Eric Hagen, a consultant who worked with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, had faced charges of conspiracy to possess, possession by aiding and abetting and attempted possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag” curated_ids=””]The 34-year-old’s trial started last week in state court. He had faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on both the conspiracy and possession counts and 7 1/2 years on the attempted possession count.

The Santee Sioux launched a push in 2015 to open the nation’s first marijuana resort after the Justice Department outlined a new policy clearing the way for Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that had legalized pot, such as Colorado and Washington.

But the government also reserved the right to enforce federal law that still says marijuana is illegal, and when federal officials signaled a potential raid, the tribe burned its crop.

Marijuana isn’t legal in the state of South Dakota. Hagen and fellow consultant Jonathan Hunt, officials with Monarch America, a Colorado-based company in the marijuana industry, were charged last year after helping the tribe. Hunt pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy count after agreeing to cooperate with law enforcement.

In this 2015 file photo, Eric Hagen talks about marijuana in Sioux Falls, S.D. Hagen, a consultant who helped an American Indian tribe pursue an ambitious push to open the nation’s first marijuana resort in South Dakota, was acquitted this week on drug charges. (Emily Spartz Weerheim/The Argus Leader via AP, File)

Authorities have said that Hunt and others cultivated the plants at the Flandreau grow facility before they were eventually burned — hundreds of plants in all. Assistant Attorney General Bridget Mayer said that Hagen aided and abetted Hunt in possessing more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

Hagen’s defense argued that the marijuana belonged to the tribe, not to him.

“That marijuana was the property of the Santee Sioux tribe,” defense attorney Mike Butler said. “They undertook to build this facility, to legalize it on their reservation, they sought to do so under a Justice Department guideline for Native American tribes.”

Reider said after the marijuana was burned that federal officials had concerns about whether the tribe could sell marijuana to non-Indians, along with the origin of the seeds used for its crop.

He has said the Santee Sioux have looked into the possibility of growing marijuana again, but said they’re waiting for more clarity at the federal level with President Donald Trump’s new administration.

— Associated Press

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Someone apparently inadvertently donated more than 100 grams of marijuana when they dropped off some used children’s clothes at a suburban Minneapolis shop.

The Maplewood Police Department posted a photo on Facebook of the surprise donation to the Once Upon a Child store with an invitation to the owner to come in and claim it.

Not surprisingly, no one has come forward yet.

The drug was divided up into dozens of little plastic bags. Police Chief Paul Schnell says because it was packaged for distribution or sale, its owner, if identified, could face a felony charge that would carry a sentence of more than a year in jail.

— Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A New York man convicted of smuggling about 880 pounds of marijuana on commercial flights from San Francisco to North Carolina has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison.

The Charlotte Observer reports that 38-year-old Lavon Williams was sentenced Monday.

Prosecutors say Williams made at least 11 round trips between San Francisco and Charlotte between October 2014 and February 2015, carrying about 40 pounds of the drug aboard each flight.

Court records show a co-conspirator was arrested in February 2015 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with marijuana. And authorities say they’re still seeking two others wanted in connection with the smuggling ring.

— Associated Press

MODESTO — Calaveras County sheriff’s deputies seized 1,450 marijuana plants from a property in Jenny Lind that had generated complaints from residents, authorities said.

The sheriff’s department and county code enforcement served a search warrant Monday in the 9900 block of Shalimar Drive and discovered the marijuana grow was unregistered and illegal.

Residents had complained about unpermitted grading and fence building at the site. Deputies suspect the growers were stealing water from a neighbor. No arrests were made, but law enforcement is trying to learn the identities of the growers.

A special enforcement team in Calaveras County is asking residents to report marijuana grows that are not registered.

— Modesto Bee

PHILADELPHIA — A convicted felon has pleaded guilty to shooting a suburban Philadelphia police officer who was responding to a report of a drug deal last June.

Donte Brooks Island pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault on a law-enforcement officer and gun offenses in the shooting of Officer Christopher Dorman.

Dorman, then 25, was shot in the face, leg and groin in Folcroft as he approached people suspected of smoking marijuana behind an apartment building. Island fled after the shooting, prompting a three-hour manhunt. The 34-year-old was later arrested at the same apartment complex.

Dorman has recovered after multiple surgeries and returned to police duty.

Island served about nine years in federal prison on a gun conviction before his release in 2013.

Island will be sentenced July 17.

— Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, Mich. — The FBI says a restaurant owner was willing to pay bribes to suburban Detroit officials to try to get them to allow a medical marijuana dispensary.

The disclosure was made in a document filed Tuesday in federal court. The government wants to keep $15,000 that was voluntarily turned over to agents by an unnamed Garden City official. No charges have been filed.

The FBI says the restaurant owner told the Garden City official that he would pay $150,000 if he could get a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary. The official said the man would need approval from the city council.

The FBI says the man in December handed the official an envelope with $15,000, apparently $5,000 for three council members. The official gave the envelope to the FBI.

— Associated Press

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