GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A Southern Oregon man who was registered to grow medical marijuana for patients was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to grow more than 200 pounds to sell on the black market.
A federal judge in Medford sentenced Donald James Galvan, 48, of Central Point to 37 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.
The case illustrates how even registered medical marijuana growers who follow state guidelines of six plants per patient can produce amounts far in excess of the 1.5 pounds that a patient is entitled to for a year, and how legal and illegal marijuana are intertwined.
According to court records, Galvan’s arrest stemmed from an April 2011 traffic stop in Texas that turned up 43 pounds of marijuana.
The driver, identified in court documents as H.J., told them he was taking it to Florida to sell, and about half if it came from Galvan in Oregon. Galvan had supplied him three previous times, for a total of 72 pounds of marijuana. The driver agreed to contact Galvan again, and made a deal for another 55 pounds of marijuana. H.J. was to pay him $125,000, which would cover the previous shipment and a down payment on the next one.
Agents kept watch on Galvan’s home, and stopped Galvan and his daughter from driving out in a truck loaded with 65 pounds of marijuana. Galvan told authorities he was delivering it for sale to H.J, and it represented a portion of his 2010 crop, which produced 200 pounds of buds from 96 plants, the full complement for 16 patents under the state medical marijuana law. This haul, which included 38 pounds from co-defendant Richard Eugene Caruso, would bring $126,000.
Agents searched Galvan’s home, and found a large growing area being prepared for planting, processed pot, scales, packaging materials and notes.
Authorities also seized an assault rifle, which was forfeited to the government.
Galvan claimed to be growing for 16 medical marijuana patients, but admitted he was using the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program as a cover for growing for the black market, authorities said.
Galvan’s 20-year-old daughter, Kayla Krystyne Galvan, pleaded guilty to the same charge, but an agreement with the court says if she stays out of trouble for a year, it will be dropped.
Two other counts against her father were dropped as part of a plea bargain. The sentence is far below the maximum of 40 years in prison Galvan initially faced.
Caruso was sentenced in July to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to growing 100 or more marijuana plants.