Feds raid major Sacramento pot dispensary

June 10, 2012

George Warren, ABC News 10

Federal agents raided one of the Sacramento area's largest medical marijuana dispensaries Monday, apparently making good on a threat issued last fall.

Neighbors said authorities swarmed the El Camino Wellness Center at 2511 Connie Drive around 7 a.m.

"Bullet-proof vests, armor, guns.  It was intense," said neighboring businessman Lou Fernandez.

Casey Rettig, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, confirmed the action was led by the DEA but said she could offer no other information because the search warrant was sealed.

The local branch of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, said the homes of the executive directors were also raided.

"The raids came as surprise because El Camino Wellness has been one of the most prominent dispensaries known for its transparency and track record for operating within the guidelines of the Attorney General and those of the City of Sacramento," ASA said in a news release.

M. Max Real, a lobbyist representing El Camino Wellness, challenged Washington to intervene in the marijuana dispensary crackdown.

"We need the Obama Administration to step up and protect democracy in America," Real said.

El Camino Wellness, which had been open at the current location since 2008, was among the dispensaries targeted by the US Attorney in Sacramento last October for what the federal government considers illegal trafficking in marijuana.

The US Attorney sent letters to 16 dispensary landlords warning that they faced the loss of their property if they continued to allow the pot shops to operate.

Kim Creedon, the owner of the building that houses El Camino Wellness, said she had been trying to get the business to leave and therefore believed the government would not take action against her.

By 10 a.m. a handful of protestors had gathered outside El Camino Wellness to protest the federal crackdown.

"It's time for the government to give up its farce on this war on drugs, which is a war on our people," said Dr. David Allen, a retired surgeon who offers medical cannabis evaluations.

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