‘Godfather of Grass’ pleads not guilty in federal court


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A 73-year-old drug suspect known as the “Godfather of Grass” has made his first appearance in federal court in Louisville since his December arrest in Canada after eight years on the run.

The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/2qtd7Ps ) reports John Robert “Johnny” Boone told U.S. Magistrate Judge Colin Lindsay on Wednesday that he understood his rights, and his lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him.

Boone was imprisoned after a conviction in the 1980s. Prosecutors said he had 29 farms in Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Wisconsin. Prosecutors said he led a network nicknamed the “Cornbread Mafia.”

Authorities say Boone fled after being charged in 2008 with distributing marijuana grown on his farm in Springfield, where Kentucky and federal authorities allegedly found more than 2,400 marijuana plants.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com