The History of Advanced Nutrients
In October 2004 Michael Straumietis, one of the three founding partners of Advanced Nutrients, fled Canada for an undisclosed location after Canadian authorities unearthed he had been living and operating businesses under an assumed identity – on the lam from US authorities for over a decade. In 1996 Straumietis had arrived in Canada with $25,000.00 dollars to his name.
In 1999 Starumietis, Robert Higgins and Eugene Yordanov started Advanced Nutrients and began manufacturing nutrients for the burgeoning BC cannabis market. They had one distinct advantage over their competition in that they, more so than any other company, built their reputation based on medical cannabis and marketed aggressively to cannabis growers, through television and radio with Straumietis himself appearing regularly on Marc Emery’s Pot TV. In 2004, Advanced Nutrients had 65 employees and an estimated $30 million Cdn in revenue. To Forbes Magazine Advanced Nutrients was an exploding $30 million a year business poised to go public – to the authorities Straumietis was the Tony Sopprano of the BC cannabis industry and Advanced a company boosting the profits of organized crime.
In June of 2001 Canadian police and DEA officials had raided the premises of Advanced Nutrients, the homes of its principals, and several other businesses linked to them. The raid stemmed from an investigation by RCMP officials investigating Straumietis and his partners for cross boarder cannabis trafficking into the US. The investigation led to reputedly the largest ever seizure of assets by Canadian authorities. Their case would fall through in 2003 and all bar a few assets would be returned; among the seized assets, a Glock .40 semi auto pistol, a para-ordinance P16.40, a Browning .22 semi auto pistol, a Sturm Ruger .22 rifle, boxes of bullets, throwing knives, bullet proof vests, listening devices, marijuana, hash, dried psychotropic mushrooms, fake ID’s, a fake security badge, a list of police and boarder patrol radio frequencies, and a file labeled OURANUS containing information about the RCMP air section. Among other assets, Straumietis owned or had a major interest in, Chinook Air Charters flight school, Canadian Soils Garden Supercentre, Polar Bear Manufacturing and Mad Melvin’s Garden centre. Within the Advanced Nutrients empire were eight laboratories, a lobbyist, an image archive, a seed bank, an internet site that also operated as a membership based cannabis chat forum, a newspaper, a documentary unit, a large network of medical marijuana grow operations and over 100 cannabis specific products (or at least this is what Advanced Nutrients claimed). (This material is largely sourced from work by Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun and author of the book Bud Inc)
In more recent times, co-founder and one of the partners of Advanced Nutrients, Eugene (Gino) Yordanov, was charged with child sex offenses in Bulgaria. You can view Bulgarian news footage of this here where Big Mike defends his business partner and pleads his innocence. Yordanov has been linked to organized crime figures in both the US and Canada.