MUSKEGON, MI – Medical-marijuana advocate Derek Antol has been arrested and jailed and is being charged with two major felonies for allegedly growing and selling marijuana from his Deuces Wild Smoke Shop in violation of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act.
Also being charged with lesser drug felonies are eight associates of Antol’s, according to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office.
The arrests stem from an investigation dating back to 2010 by the West Michigan Enforcement Team and led by the Michigan State Police, according to prosecutors.
The investigation led to search warrants that were executed July 9 at Deuces Wild, 885 E. Apple in the city of Muskegon, and at Antol’s former and new home.
A Muskegon County 60th District Court magistrate late Thursday, July 24, signed warrants charging Antol, 36, of Laketon Township with conspiracy to deliver between 20 and 200 marijuana plants and delivery/manufacture of between 20 and 200 marijuana plants. He’s charged as a fourth-time habitual offender.
Antol’s interim bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety and he was lodged overnight in the Muskegon County Jail. Video arraignment was expected Friday afternoon, July 25.
Antol and his girlfriend, Samantha Conklin, 24, were arrested late Thursday. Conklin and the other seven co-defendants are being charged with marijuana delivery/manufacture.
Muskegon attorney Kevin Wistrom, representing Antol and Conklin, said his clients were breaking no laws.
“These people were legitimate (medical marijuana) cardholders,” Wistrom said. “They were exercising their rights, and they were not engaging in any activity they shouldn’t.”
Prosecutors allege otherwise.
The allegations are that marijuana was being grown and sold out of Deuces Wild allegedly in violation of the state’s medical-marijuana law. The Michigan Supreme Court last year upheld prior lower-court rulings that medical-marijuana dispensaries are illegal in Michigan.
Wistrom also objected to the surprise arrest of his clients at approximately 5:30 p.m. July 24, calling it unnecessary. He planned to argue for a reduction in bond at their arraignment.
Wistrom said he, the attorney, was present when two of the search warrants were executed July 9. He said a WEMET officer, pleased with Antol’s and Conklin’s cooperation, at that time promised they would be notified when it was time to turn themselves in, rather than picked up by police, once charges were issued.
The charges Antol faces normally carry a maximum possible prison term of seven years, boosted to a potential life maximum because of the habitual-offender count. But any sentence in case of conviction will include a minimum sentence that’s governed by state sentencing guidelines, typically far lower than the maximum sentence allowed by law.
The other defendants face charges with a maximum possible prison sentence of four years.
John S. Hausman covers courts, prisons, the environment and local government for MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter.
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