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May 19, 2017 06:00 PM

Trial Begins For Man Connected To Flandreau Marijuana Project

Flandreau, SD

The trial is underway for Eric Hagen, a Colorado man who helped set up the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe's failed marijuana grow operation.

Hagan's trial began Friday inside the Moody County Courthouse. Hagen is facing three felony marijuana possession charges.

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe hired Hagan's company Monarch America as a consult for its marijuana grow operation. Today, his defense attorney argued that the operation was "well-known." Attorney Michael Butler said, "there were no secrets." 

The State's Attorney General's office called two witnesses on Friday in its effort to establish that Hagen, who is not a member of the Santee Sioux Tribe, was more than a consultant on the project. Last August, Attorney General Marty Jackley argued that legal changes that appeared to clear the way for tribes to grow marijuana wouldn't protect non-tribal members. 

As many as 27 witnesses could be called to testify as the trial continues next week. Among them is expected to be Jonathan Hunt, a vice president with Monarch America who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with this case last August.

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