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Judge rules eviction can move forward for Rastafarian church

MADISON (WKOW) — A Dane County judge today ruled that the owner of a Mifflin Street building used as the Lion of Judah House of Rastafari is entitled to move forward with an eviction.

The founders of the church, Jesse Schworck and Dylan Bangert, had sought a motion to dismiss the eviction notice.

After the ruling, Schworck says they plan to appeal. “This is just a small hiccup, small bump in the road,” he told 27 News. “It’s in no means defeat.”

Schworck and Bangert face multiple charges following a drug raid May 29 at the church.

The building’s owner, Charanjeet Kaur, filed the eviction notice in June, saying the church was a public nuisance and that the tenants had not received the proper permit to act as a church, according to court records.

Bangert, 23, is charged with manufacturing THC with intent to deliver, possessing THC with intent to deliver, and maintaining a drug house.

Schworck, 39, who also was arrested in the raid last week faces five felonies and two misdemeanors, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

According to a criminal complaint, an undercover officer on April 8 paid Bangert $50 for a church membership card and received five grams of marijuana.

Officers returned multiple times to purchase marijuana at the House of Rastafari, according to the complaint, including one occasion when Schwork turned over pot after confirming an $800 payment had been made online.

Just before 9 a.m. May 29, police served a search warrant at the building on 555 West Mifflin Street.

The operators describe their establishment as a church that is “Wisconsin’s first and only lawful Rastafari cannabis sanctuary.”

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