Feds raid eight medical cannabis dispensaries
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
October 3, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Federal authorities raided eight
different Bay Area locations today associated with growing, prescribing
and dispensing medical marijuana, according to the U.S. attorney's
Drug enforcement agents and federal police seized 12,743 plants,
more than $125,000 in cash, cars, computers and manicured marijuana
from at least eight locations, five in San Francisco and three
in Oakland, all associated with New Remedies Cooperative and Potent
Sparky Rose, the executive director of the organizations, was
one of 15 people arrested. All are expected to be arraigned Wednesday
in federal court.
The raids were a collaborated effort by at least three different
federal agencies. The sheriff's offices of both Mendocino and
Santa Clara counties also helped in the investigation, which culminated
in the raid of dispensaries, grow sites, at least one personal
residence, administrative offices and a storage area.
At 1760 Mission St., federal police and drug enforcement agents
boxed up marijuana and hashish inside a medical-marijuana dispensary
that also served as a grow site.
The raid started at noon and went on for an hour as federal agents
used a sledgehammer to pound open two automated teller machines
inside the front office.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan was at the scene but left around 12:30
p.m. DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena said at the time
that the raid was part of a "large-scale trafficking"
operation and part of an ongoing investigation.
Outside, at least 20 protesters marched with colorful signs and
chanted, "DEA, go away" and "patients rights."
Shona Gochenaur, executive director of Axis of Love San Francisco,
said several of the people arrested were patients.
"This is despicable and atrocious," Gochenaur said.
"I saw them take out an elderly man who was shaking."
Three San Francisco police officers and a sergeant were at the
scene of the Mission Street raid to provide a "safety zone"
for the federal agents.
Several blocks away in the Potrero Hill neighborhood, another
operation was also underway at 790 Tennessee St. Federal agents
were inside the warehouse until at least 2 p.m.
Also in Oakland at least two people were taken away in handcuffs
from an administrative office located at 1710 Franklin, According
to Dolphin, who also said all three locations were affiliated
with New Remedies, which was formerly known as Compassionate Caregivers.
DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry said she did not know of any patients
under arrest. She also said the search warrants are sealed and
she could not release any more information on specific locations
Javier Pena, who directed the raid, said the people arrested
today are nothing but drug dealers, in the business to make money.
"Federal drug laws prohibit the cultivation and sale of
marijuana." Pena said in a statement. "Anyone who breaks
these laws to run a lucrative drug trade, buy fancy cars, boost
their bank accounts, and exploit vulnerable citizens is not compassionate,
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