Vermont Skate Shop Owners Indicted For Conspiracy To Distribute Cannabis

Two owners of a Vermont skate shop were arraigned in federal court on Thursday afternoon after a grand jury indicted the pair for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced the arraignment on Thursday following the morning arrest of Samantha Steady and John Van Hazinga who own and manage the Ridin’ High skate shop in Burlington, Vermont.

Van Hazinga was also charged with multiple counts of distribution of marijuana and THC.

According to court records, an investigation began after witnesses began to report that cannabis was being sold to teenagers at Ridin’ High.

During the investigation, Burlington Police responded to the shop multiple times for reports of disturbances which included altercations and violence associated with cannabis sales.

An undercover officer was able to purchase cannabis over-the-counter from Van Hazinga on multiple occasions as well.

The investigation also revealed that Steady was making cannabis edibles which were being sold at the shop.

Over the summer, law enforcement discovered that Van Hazinga and Steady were growing cannabis at their home in Underhill and were linked to a rural camp in Keene, New York.

On July 24, 2019, federal search warrants were obtained for the Ridin’ High shop, the Underhill residence, and the camp in Keene.

The warrants were executed on August 6, resulting in the seizure of 50 cannabis plants, over five kilograms of marijuana flower, an unspecified amount of suspected THC edibles, and approximately $67,000 in U.S. currency.

“Through this collaboration by federal and local law enforcement, we once again send the message that open and notorious trafficking of marijuana will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan. “Those who deal this drug and have prior criminal records, those who deal it to children or in their presence, those who engage in violence while dealing it, those who deal it for high profit, and those who deal it in areas of high commercial foot-traffic should expect to receive heightened attention from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Steady was released with conditions while Van Hazinga remained in custody pending a detention hearing to be held next week.

If convicted, both defendants could face up to twenty years in prison on the conspiracy charge, which would be determined by the Court under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines advisory.

The U.S. Attorney noted that the charge in the complaint is just an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.