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Gabe and Angela Elstein, who in February opened The Complex Springfield, are charged in Utah with using marijuana proceeds for the operations of their Salt Lake City music venue.
SBJ photo by Geoff Pickle
Gabe and Angela Elstein, who in February opened The Complex Springfield, are charged in Utah with using marijuana proceeds for the operations of their Salt Lake City music venue.

Organizers of downtown club charged with drug scheme in Utah

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The Utah owners of downtown’s The Complex Springfield were indicted this month on charges of marijuana trafficking and money laundering.

Park City, Utah, couple Gabe and Angela Elstein, who last year bought the former Regency Live music venue and rebranded it in February as The Complex, are charged with business partner Scott Gordon, 48, of St. George, Utah, according to an Oct. 15 news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Utah.

The indictment alleges the Elsteins and Gordon used drug proceeds to fund construction of The Complex in Salt Lake City, as well as launder money through the business, prior to launching in Springfield.

The Springfield club, 307 Park Central East, is not mentioned in the release, though Missouri secretary of state records show Angela Elstein as the organizer of the Springfield club. Springfield Business Journal previously reported the Elsteins bought the business from Gary Thomas, who operated the Regency. The Elsteins signed a five-year lease with the option to buy the venue with a capacity for 850 people. The Complex’s Springfield website lists upcoming concerts by CKY, Riot Ten, The Schwag and others.

The Complex Marketing Director Steve Loso could not be reached for comment by deadline. A U.S. attorney spokeswoman also did not return a call.

The Elsteins and Gordon allegedly laundered at least $5 million in marijuana proceeds through music promotion business Bondad Productions and The Complex, which are both Salt Lake City businesses. They’re also charged with allegedly using marijuana proceeds toward the $1.3 million construction of The Complex in Salt Lake City in 2009 and 2010 and pay expenses related to shows. From April 2007 through December 2013, the defendants allegedly bought and sold at least 2,500 pounds of marijuana, according to the release.

“When it comes to marijuana, it’s all about the cash. Sophisticated organizations are driven by profits to exploit the insatiable desire for drugs in America,” U.S. Attorney John Huber said in the release. “This multiyear investigation required the professional attention of federal agents with IRS-Criminal Investigation and the DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force. Without their hard work, there would not be consequences for drug traffickers and their associates who would try to hide under a disguise of seemingly lawful enterprise.”

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of The Complex in Salt Lake City, among other properties in Utah. The venue in Salt Lake City is not being shut down, according to the release.

A trial is scheduled for Dec. 14 after the defendants pleaded not guilty earlier this month, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. The defendants could face jail time if convicted, according to the release.

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