Father accused of hiring man to rob son in Rochester in dispute over medical marijuana store

Staff writerSeptember 23, 2013 

A 52-year-old man is accused of hiring a felon to rob his son's home on Old Highway 99 because the two had a falling out over a medical marijuana dispensary.

Donald Smith is the founder and former owner of Triple D's Alternative & Natural Medicine Resource Center on Old Highway 99 in Rochester. The medical marijuana collective is now known as Sweet Greens, and its business license is in the name of Smith's son, Matthew Martin.

Detectives arrested Smith last week on suspicion of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery in connection with a September 2012 home invasion robbery of Martin's home. Smith was accused under an accomplice liability provision of state law. Smith has since posted bail from the Thurston County Jail.

Smith was angry with his son after the two had a disagreement over the operations of the medical marijuana dispensary. In the spring of 2012, Martin essentially forced his father out of the business, court papers state.

In November 2012, detectives arrested Jesse Harkcom in connection with the home invasion robbery of Martin's residence. Harkcom alleges that Smith paid him $1,000 for the job, according to court papers.

Harkcom has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the robbery and has agreed to testify in Smith's criminal case in exchange for a possible reduced prison sentence, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers said.

"Because of his anger at what he believed to be Matthew's betrayal, Smith encouraged Harkcom to do damage to Matthew in the course of this break-in, such as breaking his arm or his leg," court papers state.

No one was hurt during the September 2012 home invasion robbery of Martin's residence.

Three suspects robbed Martin's home on Old Highway 99 while Martin's girlfriend was there. One suspect swung a maul at the woman during the home invasion robbery, and another threatened her with an ax, court papers state.

The suspects tied her up, stole a safe containing cash and "a significant amount of marijuana" during the robbery, court papers state.

When Thurston County sheriff's detectives investigated the crime last year, Martin and his girlfriend both said they believed that Martin's father, Smith, had masterminded the robbery, even though he was not a direct participant.

Martin said that after the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force shut down his father's medical marijuana dispensary in November 2011, he entered into an agreement with his father "that (Martin) would operate the business, make payments over time to Smith from the proceeds of the business, and that Smith would transfer the business license over to Martin," court papers state.

Also according to court papers:

The prosecutor's office filed criminal charges against Smith in connection with the Triple D's medical marijuana dispensary in January 2012, before the passage of I-502, the state referendum that legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

At that time, Martin took over Triple D's operations, making payments to Smith as agreed. However, as the months passed, Martin became concerned because his father had not transferred the business license over to him as agreed. So, he stopped making payments to his father, obtained his own business license, and changed the dispensary's name to Sweet Greens.

Martin learned that his father had became angry after he stopped paying him. A witness claimed that Smith told him that "if Matt did not pay (him) what was owed to him, (he) had some Aryan brothers who were ready to work on Matthew in retaliation."

When Martin confronted his father, he did not deny making the statement, and told him "he had better pay the money owed."

After the robbery, detectives learned that Harkcom might have been involved in the robbery of Martin's home.

Harkcom has told investigators that Smith paid him $1,000 to burglarize Martin's home, plus 25 percent of the cash and marijuana that was stolen. Harkcom told detectives he didn't think anyone would be home during the robbery, but when Martin's girlfriend answered the door, "he decided it was too late to stop, and proceeded with the home invasion robbery."

Harkcom has ties to white supremacist groups in Washington, but does not have any known ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady said Monday.






Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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