CINCINNATI, OH — A Michigan man’s federal conviction for marijuana-related charges was affirmed last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Danny Trevino, 49, of Lansing, is serving 15 years and eight months in prison after he was found guilty on five counts of maintaining a drug-involved premise, as well as multiple counts of manufacturing, distributing, possessing with intent to distribute and possessing an excess of 100 plants of marijuana.
Trevino appealed his conviction and sentence to the United States Court of Appeals, which affirmed the conviction in a July 30 opinion.
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Trevino owned Hydroworld dispensaries in Grand Rapids, Flint, Jackson, Lansing and elsewhere and had previously avoided state criminal and civil penalties.
Family members and pro-marijuana activists were upset at the length of Trevino’s prison sentence. However, the appeals court found the sentence was at the low end of the suggested length. The opinion also said a sentence length was needed that would “promote respect for federal drug laws.”
Trevino had an attitude of “defiance” of federal law during the trial, the opinion said.
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He could not account for the difference in records of the number of plants and how many kilograms were sold, the opinion said.
“We have previously recognized that attempts to shift the blame for criminal conduct or to minimize one’s role in a conspiracy can be inconsistent with the acceptance of responsibility,” the opinion said.
During the trial, Trevino and his attorney argued the operation was legal, but the court did not allow the defense. That was the correct decision, the appeals court said. Trevino’s defense argued he was operating under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
Before the trial, at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s General Office, the judge excluded any evidence that Trevino’s conduct was because he did not know the law when he was selling marijuana. Because Trevino said he believed his actions were legal, he challenged the decision in his appeal.
The appeals court said the state’s medical marijuana law cannot overrule federal law. The opinion also said Trevino did not meet the narrow legal area where he can claim lack of knowledge of the law.
Trevino’s mother, Berta Garcia, previously spoke about the charges. Both she and her son said they believe the prosecution was, in part, racially motivated.
“Another Mexican goes to prison and leaves his little girl behind,” Garcia said previously, about her 3-year-old granddaughter and Trevino’s son, Nani. “She doesn’t understand, she keeps asking why. I keep asking why, the world is asking why him? I know why. ... This is such an injustice.”
Trevino is incarnated in a federal prison in Lisbon, Ohio, according to records.