Owners of Utah Music Venue Indicted in Drug Trafficking Case

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The skyline in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The operators of a popular Salt Lake City concert venue paid for the business through a multimillion-dollar marijuana-selling operation, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors announced a 13-count indictment against 33-year-old Gabriel Elstein, 32-year-old Angela Elstein and 48-year-old Seth Gordon, claiming they bought and sold at least 2,500 pounds (1,100 kilograms) of marijuana and laundered at least $5 million.

The charges include drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and money laundering. Prosecutors claim they laundered the money through their concert promotion company Bondad Productions and their downtown venue The Complex.

An attorney for Gabriel Elstein declined to comment to The Salt Lake Tribune Monday. The newspaper was unable to reach attorneys for the other two.

The three pleaded not guilty to the charges at a federal court hearing last week. They were released from custody pending a trial scheduled for mid-December.

From 2006 to 2014, Gordon and Gabriel Elstein found marijuana suppliers in California, and would hire drivers to transport the marijuana to Salt Lake City and sites in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin for packaging and distribution, according to the federal indictment.

The drivers would transport the money back to Salt Lake City and to California suppliers to buy more pot, according to the indictment. The three had employed four different suppliers and six drivers.

Gordon and the Elsteins began construction on The Complex in 2009, costing $1.3 million. They used money laundered through Bondad and also paid cash directly to those involved in the construction, according to the indictment.

“When it comes to marijuana, it’s all about the cash,” U.S. Attorney John Huber said in a statement. “Sophisticated organizations are driven by profits to exploit the insatiable desire for drugs in America.”


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