Po­lice raid il­le­gal pot shops

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE -

ROSAMOND — A half-dozen mar­i­juana out­lets op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in Rosamond were raided last week by Kern County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and other law en­force­ment per­son­nel, seiz­ing more than $950,000 in prod­ucts and cash and ar­rest­ing four peo­ple.

Nar­cotics unit in­ves­ti­ga­tors, with the as­sis­tance of the Kern County Pro­ba­tion De­part­ment and the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Fish and Wildlife, ex­e­cuted search war­rants at Vape and Bake, 2689 Sierra Hwy., Unit B; The Green Em­pire, 1379 Sierra

Hwy.; and Mr. 5 Gramz, 2949 Sierra Hwy.; on Jan. 15, and at Or­ganic Health­care So­lu­tions, 1315 Rosamond Blvd.; Lights Out Well­ness, 1739 Po­plar St.; and Wicked Weed, 2736 Sierra Hwy., on Jan. 17.

Dur­ing the two days of ac­tiv­ity, in­ves­ti­ga­tors seized a to­tal of 153 pounds of pro­cessed mar­i­juana with an es­ti­mated street value of $694,620; 3,972 grams of mar­i­juana con­cen­trates with an es­ti­mated street value of $191,960; 1,389 pack­ages of mar­i­juana edi­bles with an es­ti­mated street value of $27,780 and $39,998 in cash, ac­cord­ing to the Kern County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice.

In the process, in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rested Se­bas­tian Navarro, 20; Adam Eyre, 41; Richard Ariel, 32; and Ka­rina Lua, 27 for charges in­clud­ing felony main­tain­ing a place for the pur­pose of sales, mis­de­meanor pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana for sales and il­le­gal op­er­a­tion of a mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary.

All four were booked into the Kern County Jail pend­ing court ap­pear­ances, of­fi­cials said.

All six mar­i­juana out­lets were op­er­at­ing in vi­o­la­tion of Kern County’s Oc­to­ber 2017 ban on com­mer­cial mar­i­juana busi­nesses in the un­in­cor­po­rated ar­eas and nearly eight months be­yond the dead­line

for them to close.

Fol­low­ing the ban, 29 med­i­cal mar­i­juana out­lets across the county were al­lowed time to or­derly close their busi­nesses, with a fi­nal dead­line for ceas­ing op­er­a­tions on May 24.

How­ever, a num­ber of out­lets con­tin­ued to op­er­ate be­yond the dead­line and have been sub­ject to en­force­ment ac­tions.

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries in Rosamond, es­pe­cially in the down­town busi­ness district cen­tered on Sierra High­way and Di­a­mond Street, has been a chief con­cern and com­plaint of res­i­dents there for sev­eral years.

The un­in­cor­po­rated com­mu­nity is one of two in Kern County that have borne the brunt of the med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries, with as many as 18 to 20 at a time in the small com­mu­nity.

Prior to state reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the com­mer­cial mar­i­juana in­dus­try, there were few ef­fec­tive tools avail­able for ad­dress­ing il­le­gal dis­pen­saries, other than through the civil courts. This process proved to be lengthy, cum­ber­some and many times re­sulted in out­comes not in the county’s fa­vor.

With the ad­vent of new reg­u­la­tions, the county moved from civil to crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against il­le­gal out­lets.

VAL­LEY PRESS FILES

Or­ganic Health So­lu­tions on Rosamond Boule­vard was one of six il­le­gal mar­i­juana busi­nesses raided by Kern County Sher­iff’s of­fi­cials in Rosamond last week, seiz­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of mar­i­juana prod­ucts and cash and ar­rest­ing four peo­ple.

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