Owner of Vancouver pot business appears on drug charges
A Vancouver man accused of running an illegal marijuana business made a first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court.
Adam L. Alexander, 31, faces allegations of 14 counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, three counts of manufacturing marijuana and money laundering. He was arrested Thursday following a months-long investigation into his business, Grow Systems Northwest, that culminated in a drug raid.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court, the Washington State Liquor Control Board verified that the business at 6502 N.E. St. Johns Road had not applied for a license to grow, manufacture or distribute retail marijuana, nor was it in the process of applying. The business also does not comply with state medical marijuana laws, court records state.
The Drug Task Force served search warrants at the business and two residences, including Alexander’s, on Thursday morning. Investigators found marijuana plants in both homes and about 17 pounds of marijuana inside Alexander’s residence, according to court records. They also recovered more than 10 pounds of marijuana, cash and about 16 plants at the business.
During an interview with police, Alexander said he has been growing and selling marijuana for several years and has been operating under the business name Grow Systems Northwest since April 2013. He estimated he has a few hundred customers per day and brings in $5,000 to $10,000 in cash daily, the affidavit says.
Alexander said he only provides consultation services and does not sell marijuana. Customers reportedly ask for one to 10 minutes or more of consultation. Each minute represents $10. After the consultation, the customer receives whatever marijuana strain he or she asks for. He told police he pays approximately $7,000 a month in state excise taxes, according to court records.
In addition to the properties, police served a search warrant at a Bank of America branch and a JPMorgan Chase Bank location. Investigators found that during an 11-month period, ending in November 2014, there were 72 cash deposits totaling about $270,000 with Bank of America. The cash was deposited into Grow Systems Northwest accounts established by Alexander in December 2013. Approximately $162,000 in cash was withdrawn from these accounts. The bank later terminated the accounts because of excessive cash transactions inconsistent with Alexander’s stated business activity, according to the affidavit. In January 2015, a cashier’s check totaling $11,121 was issued to the business and was subsequently deposited at the other bank.
During the hearing on Monday, attorney Jack Green made a courtesy appearance on behalf of Alexander. Alexander said he will likely retain Green.
Alexander’s bail was set at $20,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.
– Jessica Prokop