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Police officer’s girlfriend pleads guilty to marijuana growing

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Athena Sui Lee said in U.S. District Court Tuesday that when she told her boyfriend, Honolulu police officer Michael Steven Chu, that she wanted to use marijuana to treat her health ailments, “he want do legal way; that’s why we have medical (marijuana) card.”

Lee pleaded guilty to conspiring to cultivate 48 marijuana plants and possess to distribute 49 pounds of processed marijuana in connection with indoor growing operations in her Kapiolani Boulevard apartment and Chu’s Mililani home. She faces up to five years in prison at sentencing in November.

Chu is scheduled to plead guilty Thursday.

Lee said she and Chu have been growing marijuana ever since her husband left her.

Lee’s husband, Ping Hong Lee, has been in federal custody since his arrest on July 21, 2011, for possessing with intent to distribute about 7,000 tablets of the synthetic drug known as ecstasy. He pleaded guilty and is serving an 87-month prison sentence. Athena Lee filed for divorce on Aug. 2.

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