Three San Mateo pot distribution centers raided

August 29, 2007

John Cote, San Francisco Chronicle

Federal agents and local police on Wednesday raided three locations in San Mateo that authorities described as "marijuana distribution centers."

Agents seized 50 pounds of processed marijuana, hash, marijuana-laced food and about $30,000 in cash, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration statement.

The DEA referred to the operations as "drug trafficking organizations," but it was unclear whether they had ties to medical marijuana clubs.

California approved medical use of marijuana more than a decade go, but it is still illegal under federal law. Medical marijuana club operators and pot growers, some with dubious ties to state-sanctioned medical marijuana practices, are subject to federal arrests, seizures and prosecution.

Documents relating to the San Mateo investigations are under court seal. A San Mateo police spokesman refused to comment on the case, referring questions to the DEA, which did not return a phone call or respond to an e-mail.

The San Mateo raids were the result of a nine-month investigation that included the DEA and the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force, a multi-agency unit.

Property owners where the San Mateo marijuana distribution centers conducted business may have their assets seized and face criminal prosecution if further violations occur, according to the DEA statement.

E-mail John Cote at jcote@sfchronicle.com



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