DEA searches dispensary's deposit box

May 31, 2006

Marie McCain, Desert Sun (CA)

Federal agents, armed with a warrant, searched a safe deposit box belonging to a Palm Desert medical marijuana dispensary earlier this week, prompting accusations of harassment from the dispensary’s owner. “I don’t have anything to hide,” said Stacy Hochanadel, owner and operator of CannaHelp in Palm Desert, on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

Hochanadel said the box, located at a Coachella Valley Canyon National Bank branch, contained nothing, which investigators soon discovered.

According to the warrant, the search took place at 2:40 p.m. on Monday, as part of an investigation into suspected violations of federal drug trafficking laws.

“This is harassment. ... I guess they thought I had money stashed away,” Hochanadel said.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Desert Sun.

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