Posts Tagged ‘raid’

Alameda Sheriffs Raid Paraplegic Patients Garden and Threaten To Kill His Dog

Jason ‘RoLLaJaY’ Rivera (center in wheelchair)

Image via Examiner

I was fortunate to meet Jason Rivera aka RoLLaJaY at the SF Medical Cannabis Cup, and my heart goes out to him during time of trouble. No medical marijuana patient should have to go through torment of having their medicine raided let alone be threatened with the killing of their dog! This past Thursday, Alameda County Sheriffs said they acted on an ‘anonymous tip’ when they executed the warrant on Jason’s studio.

As sheriffs executed the warrant at the studio, one asked Rivera about searching his home.  Rivera says the deputy threatened to kill his dog if he didn’t cooperate.  “We can do this the easy way and you can take us to your house to look around,” Rivera recounts the deputy saying, “or we can detain you for six hours while we get a warrant and go to your house and shoot your dog.”

This is an absurd misuse of power, and I think Russ Belville really hit the nail on the head when he said: “This threat is nothing more than emotional terrorism by our domestic police force to trample a disabled man’s Fourth Amendment rights in a crusade over a plant.”

The threatening or killing of family pets isn’t a new tactic for law enforcement during these types of raids, one example being the video from a raid in Columbia, MO in which a man’s dog was shot seven times. It sickens me deeply to know that the people appointed to protect us are the ones dealing the damage, we need to really make our voices heard in this fight for legalization in hopes of keeping harmless patients and medical marijuana providers safe.

Police Seize 8,000 Marijuana Plants in Michigan – Largest Marijuana Bust

An anonymous tip led to the confiscation of an estimated $8 million worth of marijuana from a Rome Township couple’s rural home.

Edwin and Linda Schmieding, both 60, remain in the Lenawee County Jail after bonds were set at $1.5 million for him and $1 million for her Tuesday afternoon in Lenawee County District Court. Both are charged with manufacturing more than 200 marijuana plants and with conspiracy. Edwin Schmieding also faces a felony firearm charge stemming from numerous handguns and long guns police seized from the home at 12501 Rome Road.

The couple are accused of growing more than 8,000 marijuana plants on their Rome Road property west of Hawkins Highway that had been a commercial flower farm. Doug Hartung, assistant Lenawee County prosecutor, said local officials are also talking with federal authorities because an operation of this size is far beyond personal use.

The raid was carried out by members of the Michigan State Police Office of Monroe Narcotics Investigation (OMNI) Team 3, which includes officers from some Lenawee County police departments. The Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team also assisted.

OMNI officers and other law enforcement officials spent Monday night and much of Tuesday harvesting plants. Michigan State Police Lt. Steve Galbreath said the final count is 8,023 marijuana plants. They were in various stages of growth in several locations on the property.

Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said the plants ranged from seedlings to fully grown, 6-foot-tall stalks, leading officials to suspect a potential wider range for their investigation.

“This is probably the most extensive marijuana growing operation that I can remember in the Hillsdale and Lenawee area,” Adamczyk  said. “This will put a crimp in some marketing somewhere.”

Calculating a potential one pound of marijuana per plant, officials estimated the street value of the bust to be more than $8 million. The price is $1,000 per pound on the street, Galbreath said.

The growing operation, which appears to have been going on for several years, included a greenhouse and several fields. Many of the plants were hidden among pine trees on the property, he said.

“This was well-hidden. It is a very rural environment,” Adamczyk said. “If you drove past it, you wouldn’t be able to see anything.”

Edwin and Linda Schmieding appeared distraught during a video arraignment from jail Tuesday afternoon. District Judge James E. Sheridan had to repeat several portions of the arraignment for them. Both said they are receiving Social Security disability and do not have money to hire their own attorneys. Public defenders were appointed.

“I don’t think either one of us are a great flight risk,” Edwin Schmieding said while Sheridan was setting bond.

He set bond at $500,000 per count. The couple face maximum 15-year prison terms and $10 million fines on the marijuana and conspiracy counts. Edwin Schmieding faces a mandatory two-year prison term if convicted of the felony firearm count.

Lenawee County Sheriff Jack Welsh said the investigation began with an anonymous tip to a detective, who alerted the drug enforcement team. OMNI officers went to the scene to begin the investigation and noticed the smell of marijuana. That was enough evidence to secure a search warrant, said Hartung.

When they continued to investigate, officers found nearly 1,000 plants in a greenhouse. The search turned up an extensive growing operation that included lights, a watering system and ventilation equipment.

State police Lt. Tim Gill said officers also confiscated several handguns which were in a locked safe along with about $2,500 in cash. The property is subject to forfeiture, Gill said.

The Schmiedings did not resist and did not have criminal records, said Adamczyk.

OMNI Team 3 is a multi-jurisdictional task force made up of officers from the state police, Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department, Raisin Township Police Department the Adrian Police Department.

Daily Telegram staff writer Dennis Pelham contributed to this report.

Feds Forced To Give Back $14K Seized From Pot Dispensary

Graphic: Hollywood Goodfella

​Federal authorities agreed last week to give back nearly half of the $29,350 in cash seized from a man who represents a man who operates a medical marijuana dispensary in San Marcos, California.

The decision to return $14,383 — about 49 percent of the money seized — was part of a settlement that stems from a December incident in which Ron Chang, the man behind the collective, was stopped by federal agents while hauling marijuana on Pala Road, reports Teri Figueroa of the North County Times.
Law enforcement claims that smugglers use the well-traveled back road to avoid the border checkpoint near Temecula on Interstate 15.
Chang’s attempt to set up a dispensary caused a stir in conservative San Marcos, which enacted rules preventing any such businesses from setting up shop in the city of about 84,000 residents.
His first dispensary, Medical Marijuana Supply Collective, was shut down by a Vista-based judge’s order back in October. A second shop, Club One Collective, was then set up in the same location, and in April was ordered to close by the same judge.
Both times, the city of San Marcos sued in state court to shut down the dispensaries.
The property has now been surrendered to the landlord, and there are no plans to reopen the dispensaries, according to Club One’s attorney, Nathan Shaman.
“For all intents and purposes, Club One has ceased to function,” said Shaman, who represented the shop in the cases brought by San Marcos.
He also represented the dispensary in the federal battle over the confiscated cash.
The government gave back more of the ash than it typically does in such seizure cases, admitted Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Smith, who represented the federal government in the case of the seized cash.
“I reviewed it and looked at the events and the quality of the evidence and decided that this was the best thing to do,” Smith said, admitting that the disparity between state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana can create “a real conundrum.”
Club One and some of the medical marijuana patients it served from Oceanside to Temecula found themselves the subjects of raids in April. Federal agents seized computers, corporate records and documents, according to Shaman.
The April raids came just four months after Chang’s run-in with federal agents after he got stopped and his cash was seized.
Details of that December encounter are revealed in a federal complaint seeking to permanently seize the cash found in the truck. That complaint — filed on April 15, two weeks before the raids — says that on December 21, 2010, a U.S. Border Patrol agent pulled Chang over as he drove a truck north on Pala Road.
About 9:40 a.m. on that day, a veteran Border Patrol agent in a marked car spotted a man in a red sweatshirt, driving a rented box-truck with Indiana license plates. The agent claimed he saw the truck driver shift to look into his rearview mirror at the marked Border Patrol car.
According to court documents, the agent claimed that prompted him to follow the truck as it headed north on Pala Road into Temecula.
Once that truck merged onto I-15, the agent flipped on his lights and siren and pulled it over. Chang was the driver, and authorities said he was headed to drop off items at his warehouse business in Murrieta.
Agents claim Chang consented to a search of his truck. Agents claim the search turned up $29,350 cash in a duffel bahg, 1.22 pounds of marijuana, and growing equipment.

poor guy!

‘The Last Time I Checked, It Wasn’t Illegal To Grow A Tomato Plant,’ Man Says

Hundreds of marijuana plants were seized by police officers in Independence, Missouri on 4/20, a day celebrated by pot smokers. But when the cops came busting in at one man’s door looking for cannabis, they found a tomato growing operation instead.

“What I saw today was not protection,” the man told KMBC‘s Cliff Judy. “That was harassment, all because of where I made a purchase.”
See, it turns out the Missouri Highway Patrol “monitors” stores that sell hydroponic growing equipment — and they use those sales to track down illegal marijuana growing operations. That information — couple with the asinine assumption that any customer at a hydroponics store must be involved in cannabis — led them to the tomato farmer’s door.

hydro tomatoes living room.jpg
Photo: KMBC
​”The last time I checked, it wasn’t illegal to grow a tomato plant but it makes you wonder,” the man said.
The tomato grower asked KBMC News not to identify him because he’s an emergency responder and his job would be put at risk for speaking out. He said there’s a good chasnce he could end up working with several of the officers who came to his home looking for marijuana. (Welcome to modern America, where you can be wrongly raided for “drugs,” but you’d better not complain about it.)
The man said he thinks labeling him as a possible drug dealer because of buying hydroponic equipment is profiling.
“I understand that a lot of people use hydroponic equipment for illegal ways, but that’s just like saying everybody who guys a guy is going to be a criminal and murder someone,” he said.
Independence police said the same tactic which took them to the tomato grower’s home also led them to a different residence in Independence on Wednesday morning, where they busted an active marijuana growing operation. Coincidentally, the cannabis was just as safe as tomatoes, but far more illegal.
Police claimed hundreds of marijuana plants were seized throughout the Kansas City metro area on Wednesday, 4/20, in addition to the Independence bust.
Word on the street is that the cops didn’t even make a dent in the weed supply.

“Mellow” Alligator Guarded Marijuana Stash in Southern California

Police in Riverside County, California recently made a raid in which they seized 2,300  cannabis plants that were guarded by a “very, very mellow” 50 pound American alligator. The marijuana grow is worth an estimated $1.5 million, and although gators are illegal to own in California, authorities say they are becoming popular pets.

This doesn’t seem like much of a security system, especially a “mellow” gator (maybe he was sampling his owner’s product). But even an aggressive gator can only be so fast and easy to kill for someone who really wanted that weed. More than likely this guy – who was released on $100,000 bail – enjoyed the novelty of having a gator on his property as opposed to a sophisticated security system.

I guess having a four-foot alligator is cool, but if you’re serious about protecting $1.5 million in cannabis, some cameras and locks might be a better investment.

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