DEA Raids Several Costa Mesa Marijuana Dispensaries

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Early yesterday morning, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents conducted a sweep of Costa Mesa marijuana dispensaries, raiding several storefronts as well as homes of collective members. The raids appear to confirm that, as spelled out in an Obama administration memo first reported by the Weekly last October, the federal government's war on California weed is showing no signs of ending anytime soon. A press release issued by the U.S. attorney's office states that three of the collectives were located at 440 Fair Dr., which until last September was the location of the now-closed Herban Elements, operated by Sue Lester, erstwhile candidate for city council and a subject of an OC Weekly cover story last year.


Also raided yesterday was a dispensary on Cabrillo St. In connection with the raid drug agents arrested grower Jeff Byrne, whose cannabis is marketed under the "Simple Farmer" label, and seized more than 500 plants at two separate locations. Simultaneously, the feds raided Otherside Farms, whose owner, Chadd McKeen, also featured in another Weekly cover story, who according to the U.S. attorney's office complaint, told a city code inspector that he hoped to "make so much money" from his marijuana cultivation that he could provide $500,000 in donations to the city each year, thus staving off layoffs of city employees.

The U.S. attorney's office press release issued today states that the raids were part of an ongoing effort to crack down on storefront dispensaries in California, and that letters "went out today to the owners and operators of currently operating or recently closed marijuana stores--nearly three dozen in Costa Mesa, and one now-shuttered store in Newport Beach. All known stores in these two South Orange County cities are now the subject of federal enforcement actions."

A member of one of the raided collectives who asked to remain anonymous said that he and two other employees were detained at gunpoint yesterday morning at a delivery warehouse, handcuffed, and then released without being charged. He said the DEA had no search warrant, but was acting on information provided by an informant, presumed to be a city code enforcement officer. The source added that the feds confiscated an unknown amount of cash as well as approximately 10 pounds of marijuana.

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24 comments
oldgeezer1928
oldgeezer1928

Chadd McKeen or anyone who knows him;  

 

DISMISSAL OF A FEDERAL CHARGE OF CONDUCT "[I]N VIOLATION OF TITLE 21, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 841(a)(1) IS EASY.  Run one line in the Want Add Personals of CENTRE DAILY NEWS, 3400 East College Avenue, State College, Pennsylvania 16801 (814) 238 5000 with contact information, and I'll contact you!!  NO CHARGE, glad to help out!

Jason Tuckness
Jason Tuckness

if we really want to change this then my generation has to put the bong down... register to vote... and not forget the broken promise's. the only vote America can count on, is the senior citizen vote but if we would just show the f%#k up, we are a force to fear in numbers!!! but ask yourself at the same time... is pot  a REALLY good reason tho vote for a president!?!

Roger Willcoe
Roger Willcoe

Gives them something to do. Teach you to obey them, they are the law and are always right because you've had your ball programmed off by tv and main stream media. Down on the ground!!!

Duc
Duc

The war on cannabis is a joke. If the DEA really wanted to "crack down" on the war on drugs they would make a concentrated effort to go after the meth, crack, oxycodone and heroin dealers. The federal government hates competition and will continue to go after law abiding citizens who use cannabis in place of pharmaceutical "drugs". As far as I am concerned, the feds can kmoa.

medical alarm
medical alarm

  Dude.. I am not much into reading, but somehow I got to read lots of articles on your blog. Its amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often. - 

Rommel Gee
Rommel Gee

The statement made by the operator of Otherside Farms is falsely stated by that of the city inspector, where there was originally a proposed plan to help resolve the city's budget deficit.  Instead the city inspector reports that the Otherside Farms operator boasted about making tons of money.  They should really look into their books and see that there is no money being profited and what the REAL intentions of Otherside Farms were, that is to help resolve the city's deficit, while at the same time helping the poor and sick.  http://othersidefarms.com/blog...

Kelekona
Kelekona

 as spelled out in an Obama administration memo first reported by the Weekly last October..... Did not Obama as president and chief of command order the DEA and FED to leave state law alone and as well The people voted and won.. then he stated we will go after the ones that are truly 100 % violating state law not places like Otherside farms that was Operating with sate law...Also If it where any other business letting the city know that it would donate money to the city to better improve economic struggles it would be considered acceptable,,, but because it is NON- PROFIT BUSINESS and because IT WAS A MEDICAL DISPENSARY THESE CONCSERVATIVE ONE SIDED WRITERS ARE TRYING TO MAKE IT SOUND BAD.. LIKE TO BOAST HOW EVEIL MEDICAL PATIENTS AND DISPANSARIES ARE,, THEY ARE such BS,,, WHY ARE THEY DEA FEDS GOING TO AIRPLAIN PARK JUST FEW BLOCK AWAY BUSTING THE KNOW H ADDICTS AND DEALERS IS MY QUESTION I MEAN WITH A LIBRARY COMMUNITY CENTER AND COMMUNITY POOL WITH KIDS ALL OVER THEY GO AFTER A EASY TARGET HOW YOU WRITERS ARE NOT WRITING ABOUT THE-  H ADDICTS THAT HAVE OD AROUND OR NEAR AIRPLAIN PARK WAKE UP PEOPLE

EQuik
EQuik

Thank you Obama for taking away the one thing that helps me to live some what of a happy and pain free life...

Spirit5281
Spirit5281

This makes no sense. Why are we giving money to the government so they can use their resources to go after Otherside Farms and American Collective? There are many "dispensaries" that are NOT following the rules and they are providing low quality medicine that could actually make you sick. I am a member of Otherside Farms Collective and I know they are one of the VERY few compassionate collectives out there. Don't take my word. Ask the other members. We cannot put too much credibility to the writers of these articles. They are not fact. They are writing about a story that they heard and they never experienced it themselves. Its not their fault and they don't have all the time in the world to do the research. However, this gives us the opportunity to do the research and find the truth behind this matter. The DEA's priority does not seem like how we the people would want them. We need to find the truth. Someone made this decision and definitely many will capitalize on this unfortunate situation.

Its funny how some can perceive this article as the owner being "greedy". The truth is that the owner charges 10 bucks for high quality medicine and pays sales tax. Does not seem greedy to me. What DOES seem greedy is dispensary owners who charges 20 dollars a gram are EXCITED to read this article. We the people are now left with less options.

Bongme
Bongme

It's about time. I hate competition.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Umm, no search warrant?  I remember something Joe G. said, "the police may be in the wrong but do you really want to go through something like this just to prove you were right?"

The gov't doesn't actually care if the charges stick.  This is meant to scare and harass people out of biz. 

Morgans Ghost
Morgans Ghost

Has anyone noticed that the trial of steele smith who is currently running a dspensary in Garden Grove has had his trial re-scheduled again today right after these raids happened? Even though this guy is under indictment for a massive grow and pot selling operation since 2005 and is out on bond and is on FEDERAL Probation until his trial is completed? And this guy can run a dispensary and grow operation in Garden Grove and Santa Ana without being molested by police while everyone else is getting thir doors kicked in? Is anyone else seeing a pattern here?

http://steelescase.org/?page=t...

Kelekona
Kelekona

CORRECTION:: WHY ARE DEA AND FEDS  NOT GOING TO AIRPLANE PARK.....

Nschou
Nschou

I personally think there's a great argument to be made that Costa Mesa should simply tax the dispensaries, regulate their operations, and use the cash to avoid laying off workers, or for whatever other positive civic purpose. That said, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Ehra Santos
Ehra Santos

Lol, and you are probably next on their list...

909Jeff
909Jeff

Is a warrant even necesarry if they have probable cause? I mean if I put a sign in my front yard that says I sell drugs, I'm quite certain the cops would be in my house pretty quick sans warrant.  I'm only asking... Im not a lawyer, Just pretend to be one from time to time.

Jason Tuckness
Jason Tuckness

dude said he RATED HIMSELF OFF... but c.m.p.a closed its doors the same day they got raided... and cmpa had just miraculously reopened after getting kicked out of the same location

Chadd McKeen
Chadd McKeen

Thanks Nick, not sure why they wouldn't have taken our offer for a meeting in the first place. Seems like irresponsible leadership in Costa Mesa or someone protecting their own business situations! The sad news is yet to come, you see, the DOJ has declined the DEA's attempt to seize our assets so now our car is coming back to us. That basically means they had NO REASON to raid my home as that was all they took, other than a couple of pieces of jewelry they didn't document from my wife's jewelry box and $15 from my bill fold! CLASS ACT!!! There were MANY attempts by both myself and our attorneys to set up a meeting with ANYONE from the city and they refused to meet with us! That's like raiding someones home who has invited you over! Guns in my childrens face? My special needs son sent to the emergency room FOR A WEEK from this? This was a perfect example of rogue policing! Lt. Manley of the CMPD was contacted several times and refused to meet with us yet met with other dispensary owners and council members! It's unfortunate that the leaders in Costa Mesa are unable to make things right when they make a mistake, this could have been a great opportunity to show how they do care but they've chose another path and will soon be held accountable, not the best of ideas during an election! An oh yah, the video of the raid will be released as soon as our car is safely back in our garage! Then we'll see what they have to say, it's good!!! They should have NEVER raided the home of a man who was willing to talk with them openly.

Ehra Santos
Ehra Santos

You're a douche! that's an awesome comment too! :)

Morgans Ghost
Morgans Ghost

They need probable cause to get a warrant in the first place.

Pumpuy2010
Pumpuy2010

Or they make you wait for the K9 to come by and sniff and react so they have probable cause. This is why you never keep your weed in the car you drive your dogs around in or bring home dog food. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Right... BUT.. Get pulled over and refuse a cops request to search your car and you'll find yourself sitting on the curb while your car's getting searched because that piece of paper on the floor "looked" like it might have been drugs or he "thought" he saw a weapon. 

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