Feds Raid Eight Medical Marijuana Locations

October 02, 2006

Bay City News, CBS 5 TV

Federal authorities raided eight different Bay Area locations today associated with growing, prescribing and dispensing medical marijuana, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

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 Employment Solutions.

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 targeted.

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, they're criminal."



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