One charge dropped for marijuana provider
South Shore medical marijuana distributor Matt Macosko will not be charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
During Macosko’s preliminary trial Monday Judge Suzanne Kingsbury dropped the charge after hearing testimony from three witnesses presented by the prosecution.
Macosko still faces charges of possession of over an ounce of marijuana, transportation of a controlled substance and driving under the influence of marijuana.
Macosko was arrested April 11 after mailing a package containing a quarter pound of marijuana to Kentucky. The intended recipient was Dean Criscitello, a medical marijuana patient who was working as a chef for the band “Godsmack.” Criscitello was supposed to retrieve the package during the band’s tour stop in Louisville, but missed the rendezvous.
A postal worker became suspicious when he noticed the smell of marijuana coming from the package. South Lake El Dorado Narcotics Enforcement Team was notified and they allowed the package to be returned to Macosko’s South Lake Tahoe address. SLEDNET agents inspected the package before Macosko retrieved it from the Al Tahoe branch of the U.S. Post Office.
“The corner had been torn partially open and the smell of marijuana was emanating from the package,” said SLEDNET Agent Brian Johnson. “Looking through the tear it looked like there was a white paper bag inside the box.”
SLEDNET waited for Macosko to retrieve the package. As he was leaving the post office in his pickup truck he was pulled over by a South Tahoe police officer. SLEDNET agents moved in and assisted in the arrest.
“I observed the Express Mail package on the floorboard of the truck and a white paper bag in between the seats that appeared to be the bag I observed in the box,” Johnson said.
Inside the paper bag SLEDNET agents found four plastic sandwich bags containing 29.2, 42.3, 57.3, and 29.2 grams of marijuana. The sandwich bags were wrapped in eight grocery bags. Each layer of grocery bag contained red chili powder to hide the smell of marijuana.
“There were eight grocery bags wrapped around each other with chili powder in each,” Johnson said. “That is commonly done to mask the smell of narcotics from drug dogs.”
During the traffic stop Johnson said Macosko allegedly gave unsolicited statements to South Tahoe police saying he was providing marijuana to a band to help them get off heroin. Macosko denies making that statement.
“(I) have no idea that that statement was made,” Macosko said. “I would love to hear a recording.”
The alleged statements triggered an investigation of Godsmack for drug use by the Scottish DEA during the band’s stop in Glasgow, according Criscitello. Criscitello was fired from the tour June 15 as a result. Criscitello denies that Godsmack is involved with heroin and plans on filing a lawsuit against SLEDNET.
“I’m filing a civil class action suit against SLEDNET,” Criscitello said. “(They) got me fired from that tour and now my name in the industry is mud because the other bands I have worked with don’t want that kind of heat.”
Macosko said he was happy that Judge Kingsbury dropped the charge of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. He said he is also confident he will be cleared of other charges.
“I feel the prosecution is lacking in evidence and they are basically trying to use statements in court that have no (basis),” Macosko said.
Macosko’s trial date has been set for July 9 at 8:30 a.m. If convicted on all charges he could face over three years in state prison, but prosecutors said it is more likely he would receive local probation because of his record as medical marijuana provider on the South Shore.
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