|FIGUEIRA, GARY CHRISTOPHER Google it|
|DOB:||September 4, 1979|
|Height:||5 feet, 10 inche(s)|
|Convicted of charges?||Unknown|
|#||Charges||Bail||Date Arrested||Arrested by|
|1||FEDERAL / FEDERAL||$0.00||May 30, 2012||DEA|
|Martial arts trainer, three others face pot charges
A Medford mixed martial arts trainer and three others have been charged by federal officials with growing excess marijuana under the state's medical marijuana program and selling it on the black market.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has filed charges of manufacture, distribution and possession of marijuana charges against Robert Dunham Hisamoto, the owner of Samurai Fighting Arts, 490 N. Riverside Ave. in Medford.
In addition, Charles Lester Reader, Madeline "Mandy" Lafern Reader and Gary Chris Figueira, were charged with similar crimes and are believed to have worked at three illegal marijuana gardens in the county, according to a federal affidavit.
Drug Administration Enforcement agents were conducting aerial surveillance in August and September 2011 when they said they spotted approximately 198 marijuana plants growing on a property in the 6500 block of Tolo Road in Central Point.
The property belonged to Hisamoto, who purchased it in March 2010 for $200,000. A search into Hisamoto's records showed that he also owned a home in the 700 block of Elkander Street in Ashland.
DEA agents said they flew over the Tolo Road property again in October 2011 and spotted 70 marijuana plants, meaning the garden had been harvested in the preceding month.
The DEA checked Oregon Medical Marijuana Program records and found the property approved for 28 patients, allowing a maximum 168 mature plants on the property at one time.
Hisamoto's property on Elkander Street was not an authorized grow site for medical marijuana.
DEA agents searched the Tolo Road site in October and found 197 plots that were believed to have grown marijuana plants. Many of the plots were empty because of the recent harvest.
Agents seized several pounds of marijuana at the site and interviewed Charles Reader, Mandy Reader and Gary Figueira at the scene. They told agents they worked at the garden and that Hisamoto was the listed caregiver.
A search of Hisamoto's Ashland home yielded more than a 200 pounds of processed marijuana. Hisamoto is registered as a medical marijuana caregiver for 30 patients, which allows him to possess 45 pounds of marijuana at one time, according to the affidavit.
According to the document, DEA agents then tracked down several of the group's patients. Many of them said they never received the medical marijuana Hisamoto promised them. In these interviews, officials say, the patients said Hisamoto told them his gardens had been damaged by mold and that he also had been "ripped off" and could not provide them with marijuana.
The DEA alleges Hisamoto was funneling the marijuana he was growing to the black market, where he could make a large profit. The DEA says locally grown marijuana can bring more than $5,000 per pound in the Midwest and East Coast. Locally, high-quality marijuana retails for about $2,000 per pound.
Hisamoto is active in the local mixed martial arts scene. He trains fighters at his gym and promotes fights throughout Southern Oregon. Figueira is an instructor at the gym, according to the affidavit.
Calls to Hisamoto's business were not answered.
Hisamoto, the Readers and Figueira now face felony drug and conspiracy charges and are awaiting their next appearance in U.S. District Court in Medford.
-- Chris Conrad, http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120602/NEWS/206020308