The federal Drug Enforcement Administration served a search warrant Monday at G3 Holistic Inc., a medical marijuana dispensary that has been at odds with the city for the past couple of years.
DEA officials said they seized at least 25 pounds of marijuana and 89 pounds of edible products containing marijuana, according to the DEA.
No arrests were made.
DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen confirmed that the search warrant had been issued at G3 and that the federal agency has been working with the state Attorney General’s Office.
G3 President Aaron Sandusky said law enforcement officers also took security camera equipment and raided a safe as well as an ATM from the second floor facility at 1710 W. Foothill Blvd.
Law enforcement “is acting like a terrorist organization,” Sandusky said.
DEA officials came into the dispensary with guns drawn about 9:30 a.m., he said.
“I had four patients in here, and they were all handcuffed and interviewed,” Sandusky said.
Law enforcement officials were seen leaving the facility at 11:30 a.m. with evidence bags filled with marijuana.
Paul Chabot, founder of Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition, said G3 Holistic has been blatantly disregarding the will of the community.
“I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this action,” Chabot said. “This business is in federal law violation from Day One, and we are glad to see the DEA come into the Inland Empire.”
Federal law prohibits medical marijuana, but California voters approved the use of the drug for medical purposes in 1996.
Sandusky said it was unfortunate that the state allows the DEA to act in a reckless manner against the people’s will and tax-paying organizations.
“The DEA to me is more interested in acting like a political enforcement agency than a drug enforcement agency,” Sandusky said.
“It is unfortunate that they continue to steal from the people of the community.”
The Upland Police Department was aware of the warrant and provided a uniform presence during the raid for security purposes, according to police officials.
During the raid, law enforcement officers questioned two men on the first floor of the two-story building. Officers had handcuffed one of the men, but the cuffs were later removed.
Sergio Munez, 50, of Ontario was one of the two men who were being questioned by police as he was sitting in his car near G3.
“I’m clean. I have no record,” said Munez, who was not handcuffed. “I’m not scared. I’ve got nothing to hide. They asked if I was a customer, and I said, `A customer of what?”‘
Christopher Kenner, a member of G3, said he has been speaking with fellow patients about the raid.
“We’re going to let patients come in and talk to them and decide what we want to do,” Kenner said. “As far as I’m concerned, all the patients I’ve talked to, we’re backing Aaron.”
Kenner said he is trying to gather patients together to keep the co-op open.
“It is a co-op. The patients run the business,” Kenner said. “If we say this is too much, then it’s over, which I don’t see anybody doing that. Everyone I talked to is upset and ready to go out and do something about it.”
The battle between Upland and G3 will soon find its way to the state Supreme Court. Upland’s zoning ordinance prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.
On Jan. 6, the city took the co-op to court on the belief it was open in violation of an injunction granted in August 2010 by the West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.
G3 appealed the injunction to the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside. The Appellate Court in June granted a stay on the injunction allowing G3 to remain open pending the resolution of the appeal.
The Appellate Court on Nov. 9 ruled in favor of the city’s ban, but G3 appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, which decided in January to review the case.
The co-op closed after a DEA raid on Nov. 1 but G3’s owners re-opened on Dec. 30 because they believed a stay is still in effect since their case is pending.
The Nov. 1 raid involved six locations associated with Sandusky, including medical marijuana dispensaries in Colton and Moreno Valley.
The Supreme Court will now decide if cities can ban dispensaries through zoning.
Upland has spent hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal fees in their battle against G3.
“Over the past months, I have been saying it makes little sense to be spending a half-million dollars in legal fees,” Councilman Gino Filippi said. “Allow the feds to do their job and let other cities break new legal ground contesting ordinances. There is no reason for the city of Upland to spend our scarce resources on unneeded legal fees.”
In a news release from Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition, Chabot demanded Filippi return campaign contributions from G3. In 2010, Filippi received $500 from G3.
“With (Monday’s) DEA raid of a location that helped finance Gino’s political campaign for City Council, we call upon Gino to return the drug money and denounce businesses that violate the law,” said Chabot.
Filippi recently announced his intention to run for mayor.