Southern Oregon Martial Arts Instructor Sentenced to Federal Prison on Marijuana Charges
Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Cloaks Illegal Marijuana Sales
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 03, 2013|
MEDFORD, OR—On Monday, June 3, 2013, Federal District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Robert Hisamoto, age 42, of Ashland, Oregon, to 48 months in federal prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Hisamoto owns and operates Samurai Fighting Arts in Medford, Oregon.
In August 2011, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency aerial surveillance identified 198 large marijuana plants growing at 6530 Tolo Road in Central Point, Oregon. This property was owned by Robert Hisamoto and was listed as an Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) grow site. On October 20, 2011, DEA agents executed a search warrant at the Tolo Road property. Charlie and Madeline Reader resided at the property with their adult children. All but 16 marijuana plants had been harvested. A large barn contained 48 drying racks used to process marijuana. The garage contained an indoor marijuana grow operation with 90 marijuana plants under grow lights and a “Trim Pro” (Twister) hi-speed marijuana processing machine.
Agents simultaneously executed a search warrant at Hisamoto’s residence at 704 Elkader Street in Ashland, Oregon. The garage contained 98 pounds of trimmed marijuana bud on drying racks, 117 pounds of packaged marijuana bud, and 17 pounds of marijuana shake, totaling 233 pounds. Hisamoto was registered as an OMMP caregiver for 30 patients, which allowed him to possess a maximum of 45 pounds of marijuana. Several documents contained notations of marijuana weights and prices per pound sold, ranging from $18,000 to $29,000. Agents also discovered that Hisamoto maintained an additional marijuana grow site in Butte Falls. Agents later learned from witness interviews that Hisamoto additionally had more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana concealed in a storage unit, which Hisamoto later sold.
Interviews of listed OMMP growers and patients revealed that Hisamoto recruited OMMP growers and patients to justify growing large quantities of marijuana for sale. Most of the “growers” were not involved in the operation, and many of the “patients” either did not use marijuana or never received marijuana from Hisamoto. Further investigation revealed that Hisamoto sold the marijuana to buyers from California. Hisamoto recruited co-defendants Charlie and Madeline Reader to manage the Tolo Road marijuana grow site. Madeline Reader also signed up OMMP patients for Hisamoto and paid their fees with money provided by Hisamoto. Hisamoto also recruited several others to guard the Tolo Road grow site and assist in trimming marijuana.
Co-defendants Charles Reader and Madeline Reader were previously sentenced to 33 months and 18 months prison respectively for their role in Hisamoto’s operation. Madeline Reader had a previous felony conviction for delivery of methamphetamine.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Medford Police Department, Ashland Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas W. Fong.