Long Beach Police Serve Warrants At 15 Marijuana Dispensaries; 17 Arrested


Illustration: Joe McGarry
Long Beach Police maybe want to join the DEA, since they seem to be enforcing federal laws.

‚ÄčPolice said Tuesday that search warrants were served at 15 dispensaries in and around Long Beach, Calif., last week in connection with an investigation into the “illegal sale of marijuana.”

Specifics of the search warrants are still being kept under wraps, reports Tracy Manzer at the Press-Telegram, but the Long Beach Police Department confirmed Tuesday that 15 search warrants were served and that 17 people were arrested during last week’s sweep.
Both the LBPD and the office of hardline anti-pot crusader, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, confirmed last week they were working together on an investigation into “illegal sales of marijuana” at medical marijuana dispensaries.
Sgt. Dina Zapalski, LBPD spokeswoman, said the department wasn’t releasing the names of those arrested because charges have not yet been filed.

Because the people arrested are no longer in custody, law enforcement has time to finish their investigation and bring charges sometime in January, Zapalski said.
“There’s a lot of information they’re going over and there’s still a large amount of evidence the detectives are sifting through,” Zapalski said Tuesday.

Graphic: Doc Herbalist

‚ÄčAmong those arrested, all either owners or employees of marijuana dispensaries, were nine Long Beach residents, four people from Garden Grove, two Anaheim residents, and one person each from Westminster and Perris, she said.
Three dispensaries were searched last week, two of which are located in Long Beach and one in Garden Grove. All three are “believed to be connected,” according to Zapalski.
Long Beach Police Commander Laura Fainella said last week that the LBPD’s Narcotics Division was working with other officers and D.A. Cooley’s office to serve warrants at several locations that she claimed “had generated numerous complaints from neighbors” about what she called “illegal, over-the-counter sales of pot.”
Chris Glew, an attorney who represents one raided dispensary, said he hasn’t seen any documentation from authorities who served warrants at his clients’ business and home. Glew insisted the dispensary has always operated within the state’s medical marijuana law, passed by voters in 1996 and expanded and clarified by the Legislature in 2003.
Glew said that D.A. Cooley and the LBPD appear to be operating under the theory that all dispensaries are illegal, despite the voters’ initiative.