An employee of a Colorado-based marijuana manufacturer has been found not guilty on felony possession charges in South Dakota.

Eric Hagen was acquitted Wednesday by a jury in Flandreau that needed only a couple of hours to deliberate. Hagen and his company consulted with the Flandreau Santee Sioux in 2015 on the project.

The tribe eventually torched its crop amid fears of a federal raid, and Hagen was charged with several counts related to marijuana possession.

Hagen says the state overstepped its authority in bringing the case. He says he “never once thought that I was guilty.”

Jurors in a Moody County courtroom returned the verdict just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.