Danville home raided in connection with dispensary

December 14, 2011 11:50:57 PM PST
State narcotics agents and police raided two East Bay locations Wednesday afternoon. They served search warrants at a Newark medical marijuana dispensary and at a private home in Danville where the owners allegedly live.

The Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the Danville Police Department, and the Newark Police Department cooperated in a raid at a Danville home. Crime scene tape was up around the home for hours as police searched it.

A woman who showed up in a black SUV was handcuffed outside the home. She was put into a patrol car and driven away a short time later by Newark police.

According to the Attorney General's office, agents were serving arrest warrants at the Happy Wellness Center Marijuana Dispensary in Newark. The warrants were for conspiracy, possession and sales of marijuana.

At 2:20 p.m., two SWAT teams and narcotics officers were on-scene. When they searched the house, police found an assault rifle, ammunition, a shotgun, 20 lbs. of processed marijuana and $40,000 in cash.

Neighbors stayed in their homes as they watched officers first call for anyone in the house to come out with their hands in the air.

"Then they shot at the door, they blew open the window and they had one of those robots with a camera go in and then we saw that come out. Then they reviewed the video of that, then they sent in a dog, the dog went in on a long leash and came back out and then about eight of them went in and searched the house from that. We watched it all from our window," said neighbor Lynn Hopkins.

Contacts with the Attorney General's office said the Happy Wellness Center was operating illegally. The investigation was executed at the request of Newark City Council and the Newark Police Department.

Dispensaries are supposed to be operated in a non-for-profit manner, and the Attorney General's office charged the operators of the dispensary with pocketing a six-figure profit per month.

"It is completely a non-profit. Nobody is making that kind of money. The collective is providing medicine to its patients who are sick California residents with cancer. They're growing the medicine for them, providing it to them and they're just being reimbursed for their cost and expenses. And all of this is just pure harassment," said Scot Candell, an attorney for the dispensary.

Officials are looking to arrest three men also in connection with this raid. One of the men is a convicted felon.

Neighbors say they're shocked by the activity. They said people who lived in the Danville home were renters, moved in less than a year ago and kept to themselves.


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