Feds Sue Owners of 3 Anaheim Buildings with Pot Clinics, Warn Others They May Be Next
According to a Department of Justice statement, the civil asset forfeiture complaints were filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against:
- AAA Wellness Center and Anaheim Patients Association (formerly known as Anaheim Caregivers Association and Anaheim Caregivers Dispensary) at 503 North Anaheim Blvd. Both had been served City of Anaheim cease-and-desist orders, and a property co-owner was previously convicted in state court on felony narcotics charges, according to the feds;
- Releaf Health & Wellness at 2601 West Ball Road that also received a cease and desist letter from the city. The same building formerly housed Nature's Top Shelf Collective and Remedy Tree, which are both now closed;
- Premium Organic Treatments PCA, Mid-County Patients Association and DKG Group Corp., all of which operated at 3148-3164 East La Palma Ave. and had received cease and desist letters.
|Rapper B Real inspects AAA Wellness product.|
The suits allege that "the owners of the properties knowingly allowed illegal marijuana stores to operate in their buildings. . . . The government is informed and believes that at all times relevant to this complaint, the operation of the marijuana stores on the defendant property was not (and is not) permitted under California law."
Besides the lawsuits, the feds have sent warning letters to people associated with 66 dispensaries in Anaheim and La Habra, according to the Justice Department, which notes most of these clinics remain open, including 38 in Anaheim and two in La Habra. The letters warn operators and landlords that they have 14 days to come into compliance with federal law or risk potential civil or criminal actions.
Search warrants were also served as the La Habra stores that remain open, although the government again does not indicate whether anything was seized. No arrests were announced either.
Today's enforcement is part of a larger, 10-month sweep of dispensaries in seven counties that are part of the Central District of California. With today's lawsuits, the U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a total of 16 asset forfeiture complaints during that enforcement period. Cash was seized from the operator of one store.
Five of the 16 civil actions against landlords have been settled with the property owners agreeing to close dispensaries, forfeit rents they received from the businesses and agreeing never to rent space again to dispensaries lest they lose the properties, according to the government.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, which has also targeted marijuana growers as part of the operation, is working in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Cops in Anaheim and La Habra assisted in the local investigations.
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