Charges dropped in Bouncing Bears case

by Dennis Sharkey

Charges against a Lawrence businessman for the alleged distribution of illegal substances have been dropped.

It’s the second time that Jonathan Sloan has avoided prosecution after it appeared he was headed for trial.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jason Belveal said that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office pulled the plug on the case because of issues with the federal search warrants in the case.

Sloan was first arrested on Feb. 4, 2010, after a warehouse that he owned a few miles south of Oskaloosa on U.S. 59 Highway was raided along with the Sacred Journey store in Lawrence. He was accused of supplying Sacred Journey with the now illegal marijuana-like substance K-2.

Thousands of cactus plants and 20 Colorado River toads and more than $700,000 was seized. The investigation and raids were a collaboration of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

In April 2010, former Jefferson County Prosecutor Caleb Stegall dropped the charges against Sloan but said he anticipated that charges would be refiled.

Stegall left his position as county prosecutor in January but refiled the charges against Sloan a week before leaving to take a position with Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration.

In addition, charges were also filed against Clark Sloan, Olathe and Jonathan’s father, and a Bouncing Bears Botanicals employee Brad Miller, Lawrence.

More than 20 charges were filed against all three men.

All three were set for trial next month. Schmidt’s office took over prosecution of the case earlier this year. Belveal said prosecutors did leave the door open for charges to be filed again in the future.

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