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The Latest: South Dakota AG accepts loss in drug case

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) — The Latest in the South Dakota trial of a man who faced drug charges after acting as consultant to an American Indian tribe seeking to develop a marijuana resort (all times local):

2:05 p.m.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says he respects a jury’s decision to clear a consultant of drug charges over helping an American Indian tribe develop a marijuana resort on tribal land.

Eric Hagen was cleared of three felony charges after the jury deliberated just a couple of hours Wednesday. Hagen and his company consulted with the Flandreau Santee Sioux in 2015 on the project, which eventually fizzled as the tribe burned its crop amid fear of a federal raid.

Jackley opposed the project from the start. In a statement, he urged other tribes in South Dakota to consider that such marijuana growing operations can affect public health and safety.

The verdict is a setback for Jackley, one of two prominent Republicans running for governor next year.

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1:40 p.m.

A consultant who was cleared of drug charges brought after he helped a South Dakota Indian tribe trying to develop a marijuana resort says the state never had a case.

Eric Hagen was acquitted Wednesday by a jury in Flandreau that needed only a couple of hours to deliberate. Hagen and his company consulted with the Flandreau Santee Sioux in 2015 on the project.

The tribe eventually torched its crop amid fears of a federal raid, and Hagen was charged with several counts related to marijuana possession.

Hagen says the state overstepped its authority in bringing the case. He says he “never once thought that I was guilty.”

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1:25 p.m.

A South Dakota jury has cleared a consultant of drug charges after he helped an American Indian tribe develop a marijuana resort on tribal land.

Eric Hagen, a consultant who worked with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, was found not guilty in state court of conspiracy to possess, possession by aiding and abetting and attempted possession of marijuana.

The tribe began a marijuana growing operation in 2015 after the Justice Department outlined a policy allowing Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that had legalized pot such as Colorado.

But the government also reserved the right to enforce federal law that still says marijuana is illegal, and when federal officials signaled a potential raid, the tribe burned its crop.

Hagen was indicted on state marijuana charges.

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1:15 p.m.

A South Dakota jury has reached a verdict in the case of a consultant who faces drug charges for helping an American Indian tribe that sought to develop a marijuana resort on tribal land.

The 12-member jury reached a verdict Wednesday in the trial of Eric Hagen, who worked as consultant to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe on the project. Jurors deliberated for roughly two hours.

Hagen is accused of conspiracy to possess, possession by aiding and abetting and attempted possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana. His defense has argued that Hagen and others were transparent with authorities and that the marijuana belonged to the tribe.

The tribe pursued the resort in 2015 after the Justice Department cleared the way for tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that legalized pot. But the tribe eventually burned its crop.

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11:20 a.m.

A South Dakota jury is weighing the case of a man who faces drug charges for helping an American Indian tribe that sought to develop a marijuana resort.

Closing arguments took place Wednesday morning in the trial of Eric Hagen, who worked as consultant to the Flandreau Santee Sioux on the project.

The tribe pursued the resort in 2015 after the Justice Department cleared the way for tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that legalized pot. But the tribe eventually burned its crop.

Assistant Attorney General Bridget Mayer asked the jury to find Hagen guilty of conspiracy to possess, possession by aiding and abetting and attempted possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

Defense attorney Mike Butler says Hagen and others were transparent with authorities about the project and that the marijuana belonged to the tribe.

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8:55 a.m.

A South Dakota jury will soon have the case of a man who faces drug charges for helping an American Indian tribe that sought to develop a marijuana resort.

Closing arguments are scheduled Wednesday in the trial of Eric Hagen, who worked as consultant to the Flandreau Santee Sioux on their project near Sioux Falls.

The tribe pursued the project in 2015 after the Justice Department cleared the way for tribes to grow and sell marijuana under the same conditions as states that legalized pot.

But state and federal officials raised concerns about the Santee Sioux plan, and the tribe eventually burned its crop after federal officials signaled a potential raid.

Hagen has pleaded not guilty to charges related to possession of marijuana. He’s argued it was the tribe’s marijuana.

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