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Christie, wife plead guilty over marijuana ministry

stands next to a bulletin board in his downtown Hilo office. (Hawaii 24/7 photo sourtesy of Tim Wright)

stands next to a bulletin board in his downtown Hilo office. (Hawaii 24/7 photo sourtesy of Tim Wright)

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

According to published reports, Roger Christie and his wife Sherryanne have pleaded guilty in a marijuana trafficking case that stemmed from their Hilo marijuana ministry.

On Friday in Honolulu federal court, Christie pleaded guilty to one count of marijuana trafficking and two counts of failure to file tax returns for the years 2008 and 2009 on an amount of nearly $14,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 22. The marijuana charge carries a sentence up to 40 years and each of the tax charges could mean an additional year of jail time.

An attorney for Christie, who has been in the federal lockup since July 2010, told members of the media he expects Christie to get credit for time already served and may only serve an additional six months.

Christie still has the option to appeal pretrial rulings to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, including the denial of his bid for exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

He had been facing five counts of distributing marijuana, two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a single count of manufacturing marijuana and the income tax offenses.

Sherryanne Christie also pleaded guilty to a lesser marijuana trafficking charge and faces a prison term of up to 20 years. She will be sentenced Jan. 27.

The couple had been the leaders of the Hilo-based The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry (THC), which used marijuana as a sacrament.

Both Christies had been scheduled to for an Oct. 8 trial.

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