Not guilty plea in medical marijuana case

August 05, 2007

City News Service, Los Angeles Daily News

A Valencia man who ran a West Hollywood medical marijuana storefront pleaded not guilty Monday to federal drug charges.

John C. Moreaux ran West Hollywood Caregivers on Santa Monica Boulevard, a storefront raided by federal agents twice this year, in January and once in March.

Sarah Pullen of the Drug Enforcement Administration said she could not divulge details on what was seized in those raids because the warrants are sealed.

Moreaux, 29, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; being a felon in possession of a firearm; and maintaining a drug premises.

Prosecutors allege he kept a shotgun at the storefront, which was illegal for him to possess because he has a prior felony conviction.

He was arrested last month, and has been ordered detained pending trial, which is set for Sept. 11 before U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz.

Moreaux's attorney, William Kroger, said his client was operating within West Hollywood's medical marijuana ordinance, including meeting monthly with city officials.

"The problem is there's a conflict between the state and federal law," Kroger said.

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