Denver Police officers stay out in front of VIP Cannabis, located at 2949 W. Alameda Ave., after the Drug Enforcement Agency officials raided it in the morning, April 30, 2014. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Second suspect reaches apparent plea agreement in VIP Cannabis raids

Another suspect in a case stemming from a series of high-profile federal raids on Colorado medical marijuana businesses has indicated he plans to plead guilty.

Luis Uribe, one of four men charged in connection with the raids, filed a “notice of disposition” in federal court in Denver on Monday. Such a notice is usually filed when prosecutors and a defendant reach a plea agreement. The next step is for the sides to schedule a hearing at which Uribe would change his plea to guilty and a judge would decide whether to accept the deal.

Uribe is charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and trying to deposit money from a federally illegal enterprise — in this case, a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary — into a bank account. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could spend up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors brought the charges months after DEA agents carried out the largest-ever federal raids on Colorado medical marijuana businesses. The raids focused on businesses connected to the VIP Cannabis dispensary in Denver.

Uribe; his brother, Gerardo; attorney David Furtado; and Colombian citizen Hector Diaz were indicted in federal court in connection with the raids. Prosecutors alleged they were all part of a scheme to funnel money from Colombia, launder it and then use it to buy a warehouse in Denver for growing marijuana. Diaz later reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he would not have to serve any additional jail time.

Furtado, meanwhile, filed a motion in court last month asking the judge to throw out the case, arguing that a recently passed federal budget amendment should block prosecutors from pursuing the case.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, or @johningold

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