B-Real of Cypress Hill Wants to Bring Dr. Greenthumb to Santa Ana

Willie T/OC Weekly

"Hello, My Name is Dr. Greenthumb. Have you ever had the problem of running out of weed and just can't find some anywhere?"

--B-Real, Cypress Hill, 1998

At about 7 a.m. on March 20, a fire alarm went off inside a nondescript warehouse in the 1100 block of East 17th Street in Santa Ana, near the 5 freeway. It's unclear if someone pulled the alarm or if something else triggered the device, but there was apparently no fire inside the building.

When Orange County Fire Authority units rolled up to the location, sirens blaring, they saw no flames or smoke, just five men jumping into separate vehicles and racing away from the scene. By 10:45 a.m., police had obtained a warrant to search the building, which was locked--even the fire-escape doors had been secured with 3-inch chains. "Had there been an actual fire, nobody would have made it out," remarked police spokesman Corporal Anthony Bertagna. "Those chains were huge."

The mystery of the disappearing men was quickly explained by what police discovered inside the warehouse: more than 1,600 marijuana plants divided into various rooms for different stages of development. The sophisticated grow operation had its own intricate lighting and irrigation systems and was still under construction, although, for obvious reasons, nobody had applied for city permits to do the work. The total worth of the haul, according to a state marijuana-street-value formula cited by Bertagna, was $2.9 million.

More »

Randy Orbach of "Redemption Song" Cover Story Gets 4 Years for Stalking Ex-Girlfriend

Photo by John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Randy Orbach hold told the Weekly he put his criminal life behind him. Then he got arrested again.
Thomas "Randy" Orbach's "Redemption Song" hit a sour note when he was sentenced to four more years in state prison earlier this month.

More »

How Tony Rackauckas Took A Slam Dunk Death Penalty Case And Turned It Into His Worst Crisis

Kevin McVeigh
DA Rackauckas: If I only had a brain . . . I'd unravel every riddle for any individ'le, in trouble or in pain

Orange County's worst mass shooting, the so-called 2011 Seal Beach hair-salon massacre, began as a traumatizing event for all, but it has devolved into one of the most polarizing legal struggles to hit our legal system. The question isn't about Scott Dekraai's guilt. Dekraai admitted to police that he was the killer within minutes of the shooting. Controversy swirls, however, around the tactics of prosecutors and sheriff's deputies trying to impose a death-penalty punishment rather than a 200-plus-year prison sentence without the possibility for parole. With one embarrassing revelation after another, the battle has grown painful, especially for the baffled families of the victims. To help understand why Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Goethals, himself an accomplished former prosecutor, this month made a historic decision to recuse Tony Rackauckas and his district attorney's office (OCDA), we are providing a chronology of events:

More »

Zombie Poseidon Desalination Plant From Beyond the Grave!

Illustration by Kevin McVeigh

Twelve years ago, the Weekly published an article titled "The Poseidon Misadventure," a list of 10 reasons why the Poseidon Resources-lead desalination project in Huntington Beach should be killed off.

It seemed so obvious then. Who would want to build an energy-intensive desalination plant that would create 50 million gallons of fresh water per day just years after a power shortage and a giant El Niño? And whoever bought the water would be on the hook, whether or not it was needed. Plus, the water the plant would produce was much more expensive than then-current prices, it would be horrible for the environment, and it'd be another industrial project right on one of Orange County's beaches. It just didn't make any sense. We put 10 bullets in the abomination and let it be.

More »

Eddie Bravo Became a Jiu Jitsu Legend with One Win. Can His Fighting Style Now Conquer MMA?

Timothy Norris/OC Weekly
Bravo, left

A shirtless Eddie Bravo stood on one end of the jiu jitsu mat inside the Ginásio do Ibirapuera sports arena in São Paulo, Brazil, stared straight ahead, then walked toward his destiny.

It was May 17, 2003, the quarterfinal match in the 66-kilogram division of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championship, one of the biggest challenges of its kind. Fans had gathered to cheer on masters of jiu jitsu, judo, wrestling and other grappling arts in a rare interdisciplinary tournament, a real-life Bloodsport. Bravo had turned 33 two days earlier, and this was his present: his first international professional tournament; his first matches on foreign soil; and a hostile crowd rooting for the guy across the mat from him, three-time defending champion Royler Gracie, scion of the family who essentially created Brazilian jiu jitsu. No member of the clan had ever lost to an American, certainly not in a competition broadcast on national television. Certainly not to an undersized Mexican kid from Santa Ana.

More »

Forty Years After the Fall of Saigon, Orange County's Annual Tet Festival Goes Plural

Chad Weaver/OC Weekly

It's about noon on Jan. 25, and hundreds of volunteers from more than a dozen Southern California schools are on their way to a shabby-looking business park in a sparsely populated area of west Garden Grove. The Santa Anas are blowing, and as the students approach the parking lots, they see fellow volunteers awaiting them, their hands holding pamphlets and pieces of paper to shield their eyes from the sun, heat and dust.

The greeters point the volunteers toward the headquarters of the Southern California chapter of the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations (UVSA), a building that also houses the offices of a company that sells e-cigarettes and an American Apparel-esque clothing factory, though it's Vietnamese making clothes instead of Mexicans. Everyone is there to help organize UVSA's upcoming Tet festival, scheduled to happen in less than a month.

Outside the building, several dozen young women congregate and socialize. They're almost dressed in uniform: dyed hair (some ombre, some with highlights), 3-inch heels, and either short shorts or knee-length dresses appropriate for the 85-degree weather. They're tying friendship bracelets around one another's wrists as they work together to make sure the Tet festival's pageant, a major part of the weekend's planned cultural programming, goes off without a hitch.

More »

Jelena Jensen Has to Do More Than Just Films to Be a 21st Century Porn Princess

Photo: Willie T / Assistant: Laura Nixon / Hair: Jennie Albeno / Makeup: Monica Alvarez

By Steve Lowery

"Brad, are you doing something right now?"

Yes, Brad from Sherman Oaks is doing something right now. You could kind of sense it when he first called in to Jelena Jensen's Sirius XM radio show on Vivid Radio, the broadcasting arm of the adult-entertainment giant. There was the monosyllabic answers he gave that made him sound out of breath.

When Jensen asks him if he'd ever like to receive a sexy photo of a girlfriend along the lines of the boudoir photography done by Jelena's radio guest, Ellen Stagg, Brad gives a breathless ". . . yeah."

When Ellen asks if he would be thrilled to get one of the photos she shoots, there is a long, loooong pause on Brad's end before he replies in a somewhat-tortured staccato, "I would . . . definitely . . . like . . . it," sounding very much like someone who might have a gun pointed at his head--though, given that Jensen is an adult-industry star with a dozen years in the business this month, a mini-conglomerate who does girl-girl, boy-girl (but only with her husband), solo acts, live cam shows, glamour photos, radio shows, TV shows, webcasting, web coding, as well as the fact that she is statuesque and gorgeous, chances are it's Brad who is holding the gun, and as his rapidly increasing breathing suggests, the gun is loaded and ready to discharge.

More »

Jack Vale's Wholesome YouTube Pranks Have Made Him a Star

John Gilhooley

In front of a hardware store, Jack Vale stands with his wife, a petite brunette who is noticeably pregnant--as in, baby's-hand-hanging-out pregnant. A bundle of lumber rests on the ground; they stare at it. The dilemma: How are they going to carry it to their truck?

A bespectacled, middle-aged man walks up to them and stops. "Where you going with that?" he asks. Vale points to his vehicle in the parking lot.

The man offers to help, bending down to lift one end of the pile. Vale then takes a step back and motions to Sherry, clutching her round, round belly. "Honey," he says to her, "you can grab the other end here." The man freezes.

More »

Anaheim Officials Welcome the Kush Expo--While Suing Small Pot Shops and Their Landlords

Jeff Drew/OC Weekly

Every summer for the past five years, the Anaheim Convention Center, a swirly tower of concrete and blue-tinted glass, transforms itself into a mecca of marijuana. This magical event, the world's largest of its kind, lasts exactly two days and happens just across the street from the Disneyland Resort. It's called the Kush Expo.

On display inside the four-hall, football field-sized facility are dozens of vendors hawking products ranging from the latest vaporizers to bongs, soil nutrients and hydroponic growing equipment. There's the annual Kush Cup Awards, offering recognition for best indica, sativa and hybrid strains; oil; wax; hash; edible chocolate; vape pen; and tube bong--to name but a few categories. Then there's the Hot Kush Girl Contest, in which bikini-clad lasses with green numbers spray-painted on their thighs compete for up to $500 and a gift bag.

If all the bare flesh and bong raffles aren't enough to keep you entertained, you can step inside an open-air white tent out back, where folks with a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana can smoke pot while guarded by Anaheim police officers. Doctors are on-site and available to help out the poor souls who forgot their cards. For a small fee, they can figure out what ails you, and presto change-o, you're a certified medicinal-marijuana patient.

More »

David Rose Gets 5 Years and Must Pay Doctors, Dentists and Orthodontists $2.3 Million

Courtesy of the FBI
David Rose's former $80,000 Sea Ray boat
An investment professional who stung physicians, dentists and orthodontists for $2.3 million--and spent the money he received on a Cota de Caza home, college tuition, luxury cars, shares in the Green Bay Packers and the $80,000 boat shown above--was sentenced in Santa Ana federal court Monday to nearly five years in prison.

More »