Local, state, and federal agencies tamed up to served search warrants at 12 different locations in Fresno County on Wednesday, including five medical marijuana dispensaries according to Corin Hoggard at ABC Fresno.
Officers served search warrants at five collectives — four in Tarpey Village and one on Friant Road. They also raided five residences and two warehouses connected to the collectives.
Investigators seized a lot of pot, but they were much more interested in something else. Sheriff Margaret Mims said authorities believe the dispensaries are making a profit off marijuana sales, which is illegal under state law. In California, the dispensaries are required to be non-profit operations. Items seized included bank records, phone records and information about deliveries.
The seizures capped a six-month investigation, Mims said. The sheriff and county Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, whose district includes the Clovis Avenue-area dispensaries, justified the raids by claiming they had received complaints from neighbors about illegal drug deals and excessive traffic.
Dozens of patients scattered as some of the 200 officers involved in the operation served a search warrant at Buds 4 Life.
“They didn’t handcuff us, but they lined us up in rows and started taking our marijuana,” said Ryan Jackson, who was inside as officers raided the collective.
Chris Rice, who was also at Buds 4 Life, arrived during the operation. He said he was unable to pick up his marijuana prescription, which he uses to manage pain from a knee injury.
“I don’t like it at all,” Rice said of the operation. “I need my medication.”
The raids included representatives from the IRS, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives according to Mims. The investigators will go through all the paperwork they seized Wednesday trying to find any proof the collectives were actually turning a profit. If they were, they could face prosecution.
Also, no word from the Feds on what Fresno area medical marijuana patients should do now that they don’t have reliable access to their medicine.