Seattle man accused of selling pot to kids charged federally

SEATTLE -- A Seattle man accused of selling pot to Ballard school kids was charged in federal court on Monday.

Prosecutors say 51-year-old Alejandro Antonio Castillo repeatedly sold marijuana and pot-laced food to students from Whitman Middle School and Ballard High School.

In April, local narcotics detectives launched an investigation and began staking out the house. Officers soon saw a several school-aged kids going to the back door of the suspected drug house to buy pot, according to police.

On April 24, Seattle police raided the home and seized 1,200 grams of pot, which included 99 rolled joints and seven marijuana plants. They also confiscated eight trays of pot brownies, six handguns, four shotguns, two pellet guns, a .22 caliber rifle and $4,755 in cash.

The federal government took up the case because "a gap in the law from the time I-502 passed until the legislature fixed the legal definition of marijuana that would have made the case extremely problematic for state prosecutors," according to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.

Castillo was charged in US District court with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, two counts of distribution of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

In a Monday news release, US Attorney Jenny Durkan said one of the highest priorities for the Department of Justice is preventing pot sales to minors.

"The sale of marijuana to these teen-agers not only impacts their ability to learn, it disrupts the educational experience for other students," she said. "This conduct is the reason we have stronger penalties for those who distribute drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and other places where children congregate."