Alleged pot dealer to kids avoids charges by loophole in law

by: David Ham Updated:

Antonio Castillo hides from KIRO 7 cameras.

SEATTLE - Seattle police said they are working hard to find a way to arrest Antonio Castillo. He's accused of selling pot to middle and high school kids in Ballard.

"We had a situation where someone was actually selling marijuana to children school kids so this is someone we want to be held accountable for his actions," said Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police Department.

 Castillo was arrested last month after officers found joints, pot brownies and guns inside his house.

 But because of a loophole in the new marijuana law that legalized recreational use of marijuana, prosecutors were not able to charge Castillo for selling marijuana.

 Under the new law that legalized recreational marijuana in December, it required pot to be tested for a certain amount of THC.

 The problem was state labs don't have that equipment to do the testing so it wasn't enough for prosecutors to go through with charging.

 "This is where the fallout falls on prosecutors and them having to perform due diligence in recognizing there's a flaw in the system and how do you punish them when the law is the exact opposite of what it should be," said Hilary Bricken, an attorney for the Canna Law Group that specializes in the new law.

 Prosecutors say fixing the loophole is not retroactive.

 Meaning Seattle Police officers will have to find another way to prove what Castillo was selling to kids was actually marijuana.

 Since state labs don't have the ability to test yet, SPD is considering using a private lab to get the testing done.

 "When you've got someone who's dealing drugs to children for profit near a school that's a huge problem so you better believe we're going to pull out the stops to make sure we get a successful prosecution," said Whitcomb.

 Whitcomb adds that Seattle police is keeping a close eye on Castillo's house to make sure he doesn't sell to anymore kids.