Federal authorities today seem to be making an example of the folks behind an Inland Empire chain of marijuana dispensaries run under the banner of G3 Holistic.
Six people were indicted and then arrested today in connection with what the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles describes as a drug trafficking organization that concealed profits:
Prosecutors say the operators were warned to shut down eight months ago. federal warnings recently went out to 34 other shops in the L.A. area last week as part of an ongoing Obama administration crackdown on medical weed. Read more about there here.
But, feds allege, the operators shut down stores in Colton and Moreno Valley but kept an Upland location open.
That G3 Holistic was raided this morning, apparently:
G3 being raided! Employees are being arrested and arraignment is set for 3:00 today in Riverside. Please retweet and come out for support!— BudTender Dan (@BudTenderDan) June 14, 2012
Three operators of the chain as well as three workers involved in an Ontario grow warehouse that supplied it were named in the indictment and taken into custody this morning, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office statement:
Aaron Sandusky, 41, of Rancho Cucamonga, who is a founder and owner of G3;
John Leslie Nuckolls II, 31, of Rialto, who is a founder and owner of G3 and who has called himself the CFO of G3;
Keith Alan Sandusky, 44, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was in charge of day-to-day operations of G3;
Paul Neumann Brownbridge, 29, of Upland, who worked at the Ontario grow operation;
Richard Irwin Kirchnavy, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga, who worked at the Ontario grow; and
Brandon Anton Gustafson, 30, of Yucaipa, who worked at the Ontario grow site.
The feds allege that Sandusky and Nuckolls received $3.3 million in an 8-month period and then withdrew it to make it appear as if their pot business was nonprofit -- a debated requirement of California pot shop law.
All the suspects were hit with charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana, possession of pot with intent to distribute it and maintaining a drug location. They all face up to life in prison if convicted. The defendants were due in court in Riverside today.
The U.S. Attorney's office says the action was indeed part of its crackdown on medical marijuana in California that began in October.
According to the office:
The indictment targeting the operators of the G3 store is the second criminal case against the operators of a retail outlet in the Los Angeles area that is part of the marijuana enforcement initiative announced by the California United States Attorneys in October ...