Man charged with dealing pot near Seattle school

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News and Associated Press

Bio | Email | Follow: @ChrisDaniels5

KING5.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 6:58 PM

SEATTLE - Federal prosecutors filed a four count complaint Monday alleging a 51-year-old man sold pot to pre-teens.

Alejandro Castillo, clad in just a t-shirt and jeans, said little in his afternoon court appearance. Agents arrested the man this morning at his Ballard home.

Court documents suggest he sold marijuana to multiple students from Whitman Middle School, and Ballard High, which is just a block away. Prosecutors say Castillo sold pot to 18 students, during the school day on April 5th, and police witnesses multiple transactions on other days as well.

However, Castillo was not charged in King County, after what the County Prosecutor says was a quirk in the law following the passage of I-502.

"The definition of 502 said we had to prove how much Delta-9 was in a particular green matter, and we can't do it," says King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.  "It wasn't just that we had to provde green vegetable matter had some form of T-H-C in it, which is the active ingredient, we had to prove how much T-H-C and this particular molecule.  The Crime lab told us we can't do that. We don't have the technical capacity."

Satterberg lobbied state lawmakers to amend the initiative to more clearly define marijuana.  Washington finalized swift changes to the state's definition of the drug concerns were expressed about the technical aspects of a voter-approved legalization initiative.

Gov. Jay Inslee approved the revision, which was also supported by the Seattle lawyer who drafted the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana last year. The bill was first submitted in the Legislature, and lawmakers in both chambers quickly moved it to the governor's desk.

"It was important to get this done in a timely fashion," Inslee said at the time.

The problem centered around a portion of the initiative that was written to distinguish marijuana from industrial hemp, which is grown for its fiber. The measure defined marijuana as having more than 0.3 percent of a certain intoxicating compound, called delta-9 THC.

Scientists with the state crime lab say that often, even potent marijuana can have less than 0.3 percent of delta-9 THC. It's only when heated or burned that a different compound, THC acid, turns into delta-9 THC and the pot achieves its full potency.

Instead of accounting for just one intoxicating compound, the new measure accounts for both components, defining marijuana as having more than 0.3 percent of the two added together.

Federal prosecutors say they jumped on this case in particular, because the alleged sale was so close to a school site.  Court documents say Castillo admitted "thirteen year olds were the youngest he would sell to."  Documents also say he was found with 1,200 grams of marijuana, 99 joints, 9 trays of brownies, 11 guns, and 7 starter plants.

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