Colombian indicted on weapons charge in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — A Colombian national who was arrested in Colorado during raids on several medical marijuana businesses was indicted on a single weapons charge, but prosecutors have not said whether he is tied to the pot investigation.

The indictment dated Tuesday and made public Wednesday charges Hector Diaz, 49, with possession of a firearm while in the U.S. on a business or tourism visa.

It says the firearm, a semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle, was involved in interstate commerce because it had been shipped across state lines.

Diaz is the only person known to have been arrested during the Nov. 21 raids on more than a dozen sites, most of them related to medical marijuana businesses in Denver and Boulder. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 if convicted, prosecutors said.

Diaz has not entered a plea. He is expected to be released on bail sometime after a hearing Thursday.

Prosecutors released a photo they said shows Diaz posing with two semi-automatic rifles and two handguns while wearing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cap.

Diaz’s lawyer, Abraham Hutt, has said Diaz owns a Denver-area metals business and that his daughter plans to attend a university in Colorado.

Prosecutors said Diaz was at a home in the upscale Denver suburb of Cherry Hills Village when federal agents raided it Nov. 21.

Authorities have not disclosed why they staged the raids just weeks before Colorado will allow sellers of recreational marijuana to open for business. Federal agents confiscated piles of marijuana plants and cartons of cannabis-infused drinks in the raids.

Medical marijuana is already legal under Colorado state law, although the drug remains illegal under federal law.

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