Federal law enforcement officials say they took down a major drug trafficking organization with the arrests yesterday of 14 people associated with The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry in Hilo, including ministry founder Roger Christie.
All 14 appeared in federal court this morning for their arraignment on conspiracy and marijuana manufacturing, possession and distribution charges. All pleaded not guilty.
A federal judge released six of the defendants yesterday on $25,000 unsecured signature bond. The rest, including Christie, will return to court next week for their bail hearings.
In addition to the arrests, federal officials said they seized $2,296 marijuana plants from various locations on the Big Island yesterday.