I represented 50 – including 30 who died – from the Listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe in 2011. I have received a few calls today from former clients and friends who where shocked by this recent development.
According to recent press reports, Eric Jensen was charged in February in Seward County District Court with the distribution of more than 30 kilograms of marijuana. Conviction on the level 1 drug felony carries a minimum 11 ½ years in prison and fine of up to $500,000.
That was after 350 pounds of cannabis bound for a CDB producer in California went to a FedEx distribution center in Liberal, some 130 miles east of where it started, rather than heading west.
“It was a legal product, which was sold to an extractor in California,” said Van Z. Hampton, the attorney representing Jensen. “They assumed, as most people would, that the truck would go west. But they (FedEx) took it to Seward County to a transfer facility.”
Employees there smelled the hemp, assumed it was marijuana and called the Kansas Highway Patrol.
“This case and the delay have real consequences for (Jensen),” Hampton said. “In addition to the loss of money and putting his liberty at jeopardy, there are other practical concerns. He was a coach and a bus driver for the high school (in Holly, Colorado). The superintendent sent out a letter that said since he’s charged with this level of felony, he discharged him. He can have no contact with students. That was his second job. He’s a fourth-generation farmer.”
While Hampton could not verify it was the same people, brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen of Holly, Colorado, owned and operated Jensen Farms, which was blamed for a 2011 listeria outbreak on cantaloupe that that killed 33 people and sickened 125 others in 28 states.
The brothers were convicted on misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into the food supply and were placed on five years of probation in 2014.