Ruggles Heads to Court, Charges Reduced
A Big Island man being accused of running an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary had his initial 31 charges reduced Monday.
Hawai’i County Police arrested Michael Doyle Ruggles, 58, of Mountain View last Thursday morning. Police initially charged him with 30 drug and drug paraphernalia-related charges and one firearm-related charge after officials executed a search warrant at his Pikake Street location in Fern Acres.
During the search, county police recovered 134 marijuana plants, 49.3 pounds of dried processed marijuana, 1.2 pounds and 357 capsules of suspected marijuana concentrate, 5.5 pounds of marijuana edibles, $1,846 in cash for forfeiture, a loaded pistol, a loaded shotgun, and a 15-round magazine for a pistol.
Ruggles’ charges were reduced during an initial court appearance in front of Hilo District Judge Harry Freitas on Monday. According to online documents, he now faces one count of possessing a prohibited ownership of an automatic firearm prohibited detachable ammunition magazine, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, one count of first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, and two counts of first-degree commercial promotion of marijuana and posession of drug paraphernalia.
His bail was also reduced from $84,500 to $36,000.
According to a press release sent out by Ruggles’ family, he operates the Alternative Pain Management Pu’uhonua’s Collective out of his home. He posted a Youtube video of the collective online (see below).
According to the release, many medical cannabis patients who use the so-called collective have no where else to turn but the street. The statement also questioned the validity of the investigation, stating that an undercover officer presented a false doctor’s written certification that said he was in the process of obtaining a medical marijuana card under an alias and was allowed to be processed as a member.
Hawai’i County Police Lt. Mark Farias said that an undercover cop did assist in the investigation but the allegation that he or she provided a false doctor’s note was incorrect.
Ruggles will head back to court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. in Hilo.