Brothers who sold deadly cantaloupe face Kansas hemp charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two Colorado brothers whose contaminated cantaloupe killed 33 people in 2011 are facing felony drug charges in Kansas related to industrial hemp production.

Eric and Ryan Jensen grow industrial hemp — a non-intoxicating cannabis plant — at a farm in Holly, Colorado, where the crop is legal. But they are now accused of shipping marijuana through Kansas.

The Jensens pleaded guilty in 2013 to causing a nationwide outbreak of listeria through infected cantaloupe grown at their farm. They were sentenced to home detention and ordered to pay thousands in restitution.

The Wichita Eagle reports that in January 2017, industrial hemp from the Colorado farm went to a FedEx warehouse in Liberal, Kansas, for shipment to California. The Kansas Highway Patrol seized the shipment. In January, the brothers were charged with four drug offenses, including three felonies.

It is unclear why it took two years to charge the brothers.