Tuesday, September 15, 2009
San Diego Medical Marijuana Raid Arrests News
REGION: Medical pot advocates call raids heavy-handed
DA's office has not filed charges against all those arrested
CHRIS NICHOLS - cnichols@nctimes. com
Posted: Friday, September 11, 2009 7:35 pm
Wednesday's raids on medical pot dispensaries across San Diego County
could have been avoided if law enforcement had been willing to give the
shops some guidance on following the law, advocates for medical
marijuana said Friday.
"The truth is that carrying out these raids doesn't help medical
marijuana patients. It only spreads fear and intimidation and there's no
need for it," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans of Safe Access,
an Oakland-based medical marijuana advocacy group.
"Rather than take a proactive stance, they've taken a reactive one,"
added Patrick Dudley, a San Diego defense attorney who specializes in
representing medical marijuana patients and proprietors.
Authorities shut down 14 dispensaries during the raids and arrested more
than 30 people from Vista to San Marcos to San Diego.
They said their 5-month probe was spurred by neighbors' complaints about
noise and vandalism generated by the clubs.
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said Thursday that the
dispensaries acted as for-profit businesses and sold to customers who
were not members of their cooperatives, both of which are violations of
Asked Friday what measures law enforcement took to bring the
dispensaries into compliance with the law prior to the raids, district
attorney spokesman Paul Levikow said he didn't think any meetings
between the two sides took place.
"I don't think that (law enforcement) sat down and said: 'This is how
you sell dope.' I don't think that conversation was had," Levikow said.
"It's the storefront owner's responsibility to be in compliance with the
law," he added.
A few future conversations between the two sides might go a long way,
said Alex Kreit, assistant professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of
Law in San Diego.
He said the San Diego City Council's recent decision to create a task
force to study and create pot dispensary rules is an opportunity for law
enforcement to take a different approach.
"I think if the DA's office were to work with that task force to create
some regulations, that would be a far more effective and humane way of
dealing with this," Kreit said.
Eight of Wednesday's arrests were made at clubs in Vista and San Marcos,
They said decisions on whether to charge the arrestees were still being
One person arrested Wednesday was scheduled to be arraigned on charges
of possession of marijuana and possession for sale of marijuana, Levikow
He added that the remaining suspects had posted bail, extending the time
the district attorney's office has to charge them with a crime.
He estimated that most of the arrestees would be charged in about a
Federal charges have been filed against James Dean Stacy, operator and
founder of the Vista dispensary Movement in Action.
Stacy pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of illegal marijuana
sales, said Erick Guzman, his federal public defender.
He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Stacy was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in San
Diego, in lieu of $40,000 bail. Jail records showed that he had not
posted bail by Friday afternoon.
The San Diego County district attorney's office on Friday released the
names of 33 people arrested during Wednesday's raids, but did not
provide their ages, residences or the charges against them.
They are: Veronica Barbosa, Chun Simmons Barry, James Arlando Bess,
Kevin Curtis Cawley, Ronnie Chang, Paul Derrick Cody, Ryan Joseph Coff,
Jon Asher Corbisez, Wilber Jay Dawson, Mark Leonard Garcia, Joseph James
Grady, Sean Patrick Grady, John Hill, Gregory Immerso, Jordan Blake
Jarvis, Christopher David Jensen, Michael Joseph Macias, Raul Adrian
Maestre, Sebastian Maselli, Robert John Merten, Virgil Leon Murphy,
James Gabriel Novella, Michael Joseph Partridge, Aaron James Ralstin,
Ashley Nicole Ridge, Daniel Simental, Tony Lamar Travis, Frank Paul
Vawter Sr., Frank Paul Vawter II, Patricia Lee Walker, Jacob Abram
Waller, Derek Williams and Myron Lawrence Wynn.
Call staff writer Chris Nichols at 760-740-5426.
http://www.nctimes. com/news/ local/sdcounty/ article_858fbee2 -6ae6-51e8- b6\