Andrey Kukushkin was among four men indicted last week in an intricate plan to funnel foreign campaign donations to U.S. politicians and enter the legal pot business in Nevada and other states. Two of the defendants, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are associates of Giuliani and were reportedly helping him investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his son.
Now, that international scandal has unraveled a considerable subplot in Sacramento.
City and state records show Kukushkin’s partner in Sacramento is Garib Karapetyan, a permit holder for a total of eight dispensaries in the city. Karapetyan and his associates have become the de facto pot kings of Sacramento, controlling far more licenses than anyone else and papering the city with billboards and ads for their dispensaries.
Karapetyan, 35, has for years quietly and systematically expanded his pot-selling business throughout the city with the consent of Sacramento regulators, controlling nearly a third of the industry here. He has donated to the campaigns of local elected officials, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and purchased a $1.1 million condo in the luxury Sawyer Hotel near the Golden 1 Center.