Fresno County pot collectives turning a huge illegal profit
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County Sheriff's investigators say a raid on medical marijuana facilities revealed a hugely profitable criminal operation.
200 law enforcement officers raided medical marijuana collectives on Wednesday in Tarpey Village and also on Friant Road.
Action News has learned this medical marijuana business 'Buds for Life' sees anywhere from 700 to a thousand customers each day. The sheriff said this is no collective... it's a money making drug business.
Thursday morning a steady stream of cars pulling into Buds for Life were greeted by a sign that read "closed for business, open for friendship."
24 hours after the business was raided by federal and local law enforcement, investigators showed the cash they found at warehouses and homes associated with the Tarpey Village business. Sheriff Margaret Mims says a large amount of cash changes hands at this collective each day.
Margaret Mims said, "We're estimating the amount the dispensaries were bringing in everyday on the low end is $25 thousand up to $50 thousand per day."
Investigators also discovered countless marijuana laced food products for sale. Kettle corn, chocolate dipped Oreos, gummy bears, and baked goods. Investigators say the food has no quality control measures in place to ensure it meets any standards. The sheriff says the collectives claim they are distributing the food as medicine, with very colorful names.
Margaret Mims said, "Some of the edibles, things that they were selling were things like captain crunch, fruity pebbles and lollipops."
Since agencies like the IRS and FBI are involved, ABC 30 Legal Anaylst Tony Capozzi believes the charges will end up filed in federal court. The criminal case against the collectives could be financially driven.
"I think it's going to be very similar to a white collar crime," said Capozzi. "Because it's going to come down to numbers and how much money did you bring in and what were your expenses."
Capozzi says unfortunately for the collectives, selling marijuana has always been illegal based on federal law. "The problem in this case is state law versus federal law and federal law trumps."
During Wednesday's raid at 12 locations, an estimated $400 thousand in cash was taken along with 300 pounds of processed marijuana and 4,000 live plants. No arrests have been made yet.
fresno, fresno county, marijuana, medical marijuana, fresno county sheriff department, sheriff margaret mims, crimetracker, local, sontaya rose
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