LBPD Arrests Owner Of LB Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Alleging Possession Of Marijuana For Sale; PD Says Year And Half Financial Investigation w/ Multiple Agencies Leads To Multiple Search Warrants Finding $800,000 Cash, Guns, Body Armor And More
|(Aug. 24, 2012, 7:50 a.m.) -- Introduced by Mayor Bob Foster at a 5:00 p.m. August 23 press briefing, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell announced the August 22 arrest of Jon Storms, an ELB resident who police allege operated Long Beach Quality Caregivers, a medical marijuana dispensary at 1150 San Antonio Rd., on LBPD arresting charges of sale of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
Chief McDonnell said that a year and a half long financial investigation which involved LBPD, the LA Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Task Force, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the CA Franchise Tax Board and the L.A. County District Attorney's office led to search warrants served on August 22 at nine locations (residences, businesses, warehouses: 5 in Long Beach, 1 in Signal Hill, 1 in Corona, 2 in Needles). At the locations, the Chief said the following items were seized: $806,500 cash, 14 rifles, 17 handguns, 3 shotguns, body armor, 17 high end collector cars, 1 truck, 1 boat, 3 personal watercraft, 5 classic motorcycles, 1 forty-foot ft recreational vehicle allegedly valued at roughly quarter million dollars and 7 off-road vehicles.
Mr. Storms was arrested at his ELB home where one of the search warrants was served. No charges have been filed by prosecutors at this point. During reporters Q & A, Chief McDonnell said Mr. Storms is no longer in police custody and is not considered a flight risk. The search warrants weren't immediately available. Chief McDonnell said that after Detectives examine what he described as a vast amount of financial documents and other evidence seized, LBPD will coordinate with the District Attorney's office to determine what charges will be filed. [The decision on prosecution charges rests with the D.A.'s office.]
Shortly after the news conference (6:00 p.m. Aug. 23), a man who answered the phone at Mr. Storms' residence expressed surprise at learning of the news conference and said he'd let his attorney speak for him [comments will be added here as received].
Chief McDonnell said the agencies had conducted a collaborative investigation which "will show the amount of money generated" and said "we estimate the gross sales from this dispensary to be between one and two million dollars a year." The Chief said Mr. Storms owns several residences (one in Long Beach, others elsewhere) and recently purchased the El Dorado Restaurant (3014 N. Studebaker Rd. @ Spring St.) in ELB. [The restaurant has recently been in an administrative dispute with City Hall over a requested permit for live music.]
Chief McDonnell said that on June 14, 2012, Mr. Storms submitted a City of LB Medicinal Marijuana Collective Application [for the San Antonio Rd. dispensary] which was subsequently denied and no permit was issued. The Chief alleged that Mr. Storms operated regardless and "has been operating a business" that advertised and offered coupons and discounts on certain days. "If this had truly been a nonprofit collective, there would be no need to provide an incentive for members to purchase more of what is already theirs as members," Chief McDonnell said.
Chief McDonnell said Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act) and SB 420 were enacted to allow the use of marijuana for individuals who are seriously ill with a legitimate doctor's recommendation. "Law enforcement recognzies and responds to the compassionate cases and the law that makes medical marijuana available to those who qualify. The City of LB attempted to facilitate the spirit of these laws by enacting a local ordinance to regulate collectives. However the result was the creation of storefront dispensaries selling marijuana over the counter for profit," he said.
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