Jump to content

Oakland County Marijuana Case Dismissed Based On Improper Search Warrants


Recommended Posts

An Oakland County medical marijuana dispensary bust was conducted with improperly issued search warrants, a judge ruled last week before dismissing the resulting charges.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper's office charged Donald W. Barnes III with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after sheriff's officials arrested him following the discovery of large amounts of marijuana during searches at warehouses in Waterford and Lake Orion in February 2016.

They also searched the home of Barnes, who was listed on paperwork as the registered agent for the Metro Detroit Compassion Club, the entity that operated the Waterford warehouse. 


Attorney Nadeem N. Harfouch with the Troy-based Harfouch law firm successfully argued police secured the search warrants without probable cause.

Investigators claimed to have evidence that employees with the Metro Detroit Compassion Club were selling marijuana to non-registered patients. The 2008-passed Michigan Medical Marijuana Act limits sale of marijuana to patients by their registered "caretaker."

Sheriff's officials secured a warrant in Barnes' name, because he was listed on paperwork as the registered agent, but Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris in an opinion said there was no evidence Barnes owned or operated the compassion club, that he sold the marijuana referenced in the warrant request or was even aware it had been sold to the informant.

The second warrant called for a search of Barnes' home, using the fact that vehicles parked there were registered in Barnes' name. 

"The mere fact that a vehicle was registered to (Barnes) was too vague and generalized a nexus to support a search warrant," the judge ruled. " ... The affidavits in this case contained no evidence that (Barnes) distributed marijuana illegally, that defendant stored documents relating (compassion club sales) at his home or that any suspicious activity had ever taken place at his residence."

The search warrants were approved by a magistrate in Oakland County's 51st District Court.

Barnes' attorney says sheriff's deputies turned the home upside down while seizing computers, a Mercedes, Ford pickup, Bose stereo equipment, $10,000 and other valuables under forfeiture laws. 

Harfouch successfully fought to have the vehicles and some property returned, but police still have other possessions. 

Records found in Barnes home led them to secure a third warrant at the second location in Lake Orion.

Investigators claimed to have seized over 100 pounds of marijuana between the three searches. 

MLive has requested and is awaiting comment on the dismissal from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.

The case was dismissed Thursday.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...