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Gazette Premium Content Denver marijuana shop raided again in federal probe

Associated Press Updated: April 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm

DENVER — A Denver medical marijuana dispensary and at least two other buildings linked to four men accused of laundering money from Colombia to buy a grow house were raided Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney spokesman Jeff Dorschner confirmed that federal agents executed search and seizure warrants, including one at VIP Cannabis, as part of an ongoing investigation, but he declined to elaborate.

At least one other industrial building in Denver linked to one of the suspects, David Furtado, was also raided. There were signs that agents had also searched a VIP grow house. A large metal door and its frame were lying outside the two-story building, and the doorway was boarded up.

Video and photos from KUSA-TV during the VIP Cannabis raid showed firefighters breaking into two safes in the parking lot. The dispensary was also raided during a larger federal operation in November.

Prosecutors allege VIP's operators Gerardo Uribe, 33, and his brother Luis Uribe, 28, along with Furtado, 48, wired and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars from Colombia to buy a grow house in Denver.

A copy of the indictment released Wednesday says the men tried to conceal the source of the money by transferring it into a bank account associated with Colorado West Metal, which the U.S. attorney's office described as a shell company.

Furtado is also accused of using his attorney trust account, held in the name of his law firm, to facilitate the purchase of the warehouse.

Also charged in the case is Hector Diaz, an associate of the men who was arrested on a weapons charge during the November raids after investigators unearthed photos of him wearing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cap while holding two semi-automatic rifles and two handguns. He appeared in federal court briefly on Wednesday to be advised of new charges against him.

Dressed in a dark suit and free on bond, Diaz pleaded not guilty to the new charges of money laundering and providing false statements to authorities.

Gerardo Uribe surrendered to authorities on Wednesday.

Furtado and the younger Uribe remain jailed and are scheduled to appear at a detention hearing Thursday. Their attorneys have declined to comment.

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