A chapter in Miles City marijuana history has come one step closer to a close in federal court with guilty pleas by Richard Giles Flor, 68 and his adult son Justin Lane Flor, 34. Sentencing for each is set for April 19, 2012. Both are released on special conditions.
Richard Flor plead guilty to conspiracy to maintain a drug-involved premises. Justin Flor pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph E. Thaggard, Paulette L. Stewart, and Jessica T. Fehr prosecuted the cases.
Since 2006 Richard and Justin Flor and others manufactured marijuana at an annual outdoor grow operation maintained on the premises of the Flors’ home in Miles City. Justin lived with Richard and Sherry Flor. Sherry Flor pled guilty to similar charges late in 2011. The operation was in plain sight and visible to passing traffic in an alley behind his home. A witness would have testified at trial that the Flors and others stored the marijuana at the Flor home and distributed it to others including to the witness and his or her customers. In July 2007 a DEA agent observed over 30 marijuana plants growing in the yard of Flor’shome in Miles City and agents purchased 4 ounces of marijuana in October of 2007.
In 2009 the witness and others including the father/son duo decided to expand their manufacture and distribution of marijuana in Montana to locations outside of Miles City. Ultimately, commencing in 2009, those involved in the conspiracy grew marijuana at Flor’s residence in Miles City and at least one location near Three Forks, as well as a series of large greenhouses located in Helena. Once manufactured, the marijuana was distributed from various points, including locations in Helena, Missoula, Billings, and the Flors’ residence in Miles City.
A DEA agent would have testified that, in 2010, he, along with special agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) began an investigation of the conspiracy described in the preceding paragraphs. He would have testified the investigation continues as of this date.
An IRS agent would have testified had the cases gone to trial that he examined bank records related to the conspiracy. He would have testified that, ultimately, in excess of $1,000,000 was deposited in various bank accounts employed to promote the conspiracy. Agents seized approximately 950 marijuana plants from the greenhouses in Helena. They also seized a number of firearms from that facility as well. Additionally, at that time they seized marijuana ready for sale from distribution points maintained by the conspirators in Helena, Missoula, and Billings, as well as the Flors’ home in Miles City.
Following a grand jury indictment in June 2011, DEA agents went to the Flors’ Miles City home to arrest him and discovered more marijuana in the Flor home and that appeared to be intended for distribution.
Richard Flor faces possible penalties of a 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine 3 years supervised release. Justin Flor faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $4,000,000 fine and 4 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.