Newshawk: The Source for Medicinal Marijuana News www.mapinc.org
Pubdate: Sat, 24 Nov 2007
Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: Tracy Manzer, Staff writer
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana - Medicinal)
DEA SAYS MARIJUANA RAIDS COULD CONTINUE IN LONG BEACH
Agents Say They're Probing Businesses
LONG BEACH - Tuesday's raid at a local medical marijuana clinic was
the first of its kind for Long Beach, but it may not be the last,
according to federal authorities.
Federal agents served the search warrant at Long Beach Compassionate
Cooperative, 342 E. Fourth St., at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, seizing 33
kilos of dried marijuana and about $10,000 cash, said Special Agent
Jose Martinez, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration's Los Angeles Field Division.
Agents also arrested a man listed as the dispensary's operator, Martinez said.
He was identified Friday as Samuel Matthew Fata.
Fata was booked on a charge of possession of narcotics for
distribution and released the same day, Martinez said.
Control of the dispensary was turned back to the operator once the
search warrant was executed, the agent said.
Since the search warrant, however, the dispensary's doors have
remained locked and a sign reading "closed indefinitely," hangs in
the front of the business.
Tuesday's raid was the first of its kind in Long Beach since the 1996
passage of state Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act that
legalized marijuana for patients with debilitating and terminal
Although state laws authorize the distribution of medical marijuana
in certain circumstances, federal law still prohibits distribution of
the drug for any purpose, Martinez explained.
Letters were sent to the property owners who lease space to all the
dispensaries in the city a few months ago. In the letters, property
owners were told illegal business was being conducted in the
locations and must cease immediately, Martinez said.
Rumors were sparked by the warrant earlier in the week with several
supporters of the medical marijuana initiative questioning the timing
of the warrant and the selection of just one location.
"It's a very tedious process," Martinez said, adding that the agency
has only a few agents to cover the entire Los Angeles County region.
Martinez said the warrant at the L.B.C.C. dispensary was the first
for the area, but it will not be the last if any other dispensaries remain.
"We'll follow up on every location served (with notice)," Martinez promised.
Although the city does not allow business licenses for medical
marijuana dispensaries, police officials recently identified 11
dispensaries they said are operating throughout Long Beach.