Marijuana Defendents Appear In Court

July 09, 2006

, Fox 6 News (San Diego)

Several men indicted on drug trafficking charges for allegedly selling pot under the guise of providing medical marijuana in the San Diego area are scheduled to be arraigned Monday Federal indictments were handed down last week to John Sullivan, 38, Wayne Hudson, 42, Christopher Larkin, 34, Ross McManus, 39, Scott Wright, 40, and Michael Ragin, 34, charging them with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana.

Eleven marijuana dispensaries were raided Wednesday by law enforcement agents and San Diego Police Department officers, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the multi-agency Narcotics Task Force, said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

The joint investigation began last September, after numerous complaints were lodged by nearby residents in the neighborhoods where the accused were allegedly selling marijuana under the guise of operating medical marijuana dispensaries, authorities said.

Under Proposition 215 in California, seriously ill patients can get small amounts of marijuana legally if they have the approval of a licensed physician. The sale, possession or distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law.

"These defendants were not caregivers, and they did not run medical dispensaries," U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said last week.

The investigation focused on more than 20 storefronts that opened up throughout the city of San Diego and sold marijuana to anyone with a recommendation or a caregiver form signed by the same doctors.

Marijuana prescriptions for six months or one year, which could be purchased from some doctors, appeared to be openly sold to anyone who had the cash, authorities said.

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