Federal officials targeting marijuana storefronts and grows in Santa Barbara County

May 3, 2012

In the latest series of actions against the commercial marijuana industry in California, federal authorities this week filed three seizure lawsuits against properties housing marijuana operations in Santa Barbara County, executed search warrants at four locations, and have sent warning letters to people associated with 10 other marijuana stores in the county.

Three civil asset forfeiture complaints for seizure of properties were filed yesterday afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles against properties in Santa Barbara and Summerland where marijuana is being grown or marijuana stores are currently operating. Prosecutors yesterday also sent letters to marijuana store operators and the owners of buildings where 10 marijuana stores currently operate in Goleta, Summerland and Santa Barbara.

The three forfeiture lawsuits filed this week allege that the owners either knowingly allowed commercial marijuana stores to operate or knowingly allowed a significant indoor marijuana farm to function. The buildings named in the forfeiture lawsuits also house:

• Miramar Collective on Ortega Hill Road in Summerland, which local authorities estimate was generating annual profits of approximately $840,000 in 2009, and whose owner is currently being prosecuted by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on state narcotics charges;

• Pacific Coast Collective on North Milpas in Santa Barbara, whose operator is currently being prosecuted in state court and, even though called “not for profit,” the business is incorporated and does not have non-profit status for tax purposes;

• An indoor marijuana farm on East Haley in Santa Barbara, where substandard and unpermitted electrical equipment has been used.

In conjunction with the filing of the asset forfeiture complaints, letters were mailed out yesterday to the property owners and operators of 10 additional marijuana stores that are either currently operating or were recently closed – six in Santa Barbara, three in Goleta and one in Summerland.

All known marijuana stores in Santa Barbara County are now the subject of federal enforcement actions.


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15 Comments

  1. The Gimlet Eye says:

    What can happen to you if you get caught up in a sting:

    California college student was left in a DEA federal detention cell for 5 days without food & water with only his own urine to drink. He suffered from kidney failure and dehydration and is now suing for $20 million. [The DEA says his treatment was a mistake.] Yahoo 2012 May 4

    http://gma.yahoo.com/student-abandoned-dea-cell-5-days-sue-20-214003896–abc-news-topstories.html

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. The Gimlet Eye says:

    I am unalterably opposed to the actions of the feds against these growers. This stinks to high heaven.

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. Citizen says:

    Why do the feds ignore the Mexican drug cartel grows in our national forests, and the Mexican drug cartel trafficking at the border (haven’t sealed the border) and go after the small stuff? Why is Obama allowing this to happen. Could it have to do with massive payoffs from drug cartels to political leaders in our state and federal government?

    (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      Because the feds ARE the drug cartels, and the drug cartels ARE the feds. The federal government and the criminal bankers would be out of business if they didn’t have their dope to peddle, along with their money laundering operations. Don’t forget that Big Pharma (Monsanto?) doesn’t want any competition in the business of organized crime.

      So, gotta go after these unfortunate small fries who are audacious enough to go into business for themselves with this perennial medicinal herb. Competition is bad for business!

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  4. ccole says:

    Everyone is really missing the point on this subject and no one seems to want to state the real truth. Let me start by saying that I fully support medical marijuana, and would support the full legalization of marijuana as well. However, as of now it is illegal, and it seems even medical marijuana is questionable. “Pot Smokers” are supporting these “poor business” owners that are getting busted as if they were going about their business and not doing anything wrong. Had that been the case, no one would have been busted, Oakland, Santa Barbara, even right here in our backyard in Morro Bay. These collectives are being legitimately raided because they are operating illegally. It can be boiled down to two basic illegal operations, they are either 1) selling marijuana to people that don’t have medical cards (as was the case in Morro Bay), which makes them drug dealers and therefore they deserve to be raided and prosecuted, or most common, 2) they are not truthfully and legitimately paying their taxes, which again makes them drug dealers. These Collectives are not above the law, especially the tax laws. They are making hundreds of thousands and in some case millions of dollars of profit a year and by continuing to violate Federal, State and Local tax laws they are by default, drug dealers that should be prosecuted. Whether you support the use of medical marijuana or not, you should not condone or support anyone not paying their taxes. What if everybody decided to evade taxes? We’d all be in big trouble. Bottom line, it’s sad and unfortunate because most of these collections are making it very difficult for all those that truly need medical marijuana and they are giving a bad name to the concept in general.

    (-11) 23 Total Votes - 6 up - 17 down
    • winedude says:

      There are Collectives that ARE paying their share of the taxes. They get screwed by the IRS because (unless things have changed) they can’t deduct expenses since the Feds see it as an illegal business. This prohibition is just plain crazy but the prison lobby is VERY powerful. They will eventually lose but they won’t b e easy to defeat.

      (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
    • danika says:

      Ccole, there are always businesses that operate illegally; you don’t have to be a MMJ grower or a dispensary to not pay your taxes. I more than pay mine and it pains me to do so. I would LOVE it if everyone made a bold statement to our government and said ” Nope. We are not paying our taxes this year until you pass a budget”. But that won’t happen.

      I support the use of medical marijuana. For myself, I don’t use it. Messy laws make for prison time. THEY will win…for now. Even when their own department, National Institue of Health, released a study last year saying marijuana DOES provide medical evidence of helping those with cancer. But the government shoved that under the rug and boldly moved forward to put a stop to MMJ everywhere.
      Why? Control.

      I see a time where the majority of people will stand up against their government in many ways. People are just flat out angry with them. Fed up. If it isn’t MMJ, it’s a host of other wrongs done to us by our government. Agenda 21 is a wake up call to us all. If you don’t know what that is, research. Open your eyes. Ask questions. Take part in dialog wherever you can find it.

      In the end, the government isn’t caring a squat about medical marijuana…they want control…of “We the People”…

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
      • The Gimlet Eye says:

        Well said, danika. Well said. For an excellent and like-minded review of the news, go to:

        http://www.realityzone.com/un.html

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
      • ccole says:

        danika,
        I agree with you 100%. I think we were saying the same thing. My point was that with a subject that contains such “messy laws”, the owners of the dispensaries should not be messing around. Proposition 215 which established MMJ dispensaries clearly states that they are supposed to be non profit only.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  5. SewerHeightsRez says:

    The fight against the unstoppable trend to legalize weed is financed by:
    1.) Law enforcement
    2.) Alcoholic beverage makers
    3.) Pharmaceutical companies
    They will lose but never stop fighting, i.e., imprisoning citizens without limit.

    (18) 18 Total Votes - 18 up - 0 down
  6. abigchocoholic says:

    What a joke.

    Marijuana should be sold at the pharmacy just like any other medication.

    (26) 28 Total Votes - 27 up - 1 down
    • zaphod says:

      The lobby money behind this policy is the private prison cartel the last thing they want is less incarceration > they put money where their mouth is suspiciously large sums concentrated on tougher enforcement and harsher treatment all around to attract investors, get on board with the profits from prison plan for your family/retirement portfolio.

      (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
      • zaphod says:

        LINK

        (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
        • zaphod says:

          excerpt:The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behavior. Also, sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation with electronic monitoring who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.
          ~ CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA 2010 ANNUAL REPORT

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down

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