San Diego Targeting Pot Shops After Guns, Cocaine Found At Dispensary
San Diego law enforcement leaders said Tuesday they're stepping up efforts to close illegal marijuana dispensaries following a rash of citizen complaints and the discovery of weapons at a shop in the Mount Hope neighborhood.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said the Police Department has been receiving numerous complaints of pot shops operating illegally in the city. Even though the city has succeeded in closing two or three weekly, she estimated that around 40 are still in business.
At one shop shut down this fall, police found three handguns and 4.59 grams of rock cocaine, according to authorities.
"When a dispensary operates illegally in our neighborhoods, the city has no control over who is involved, what they do at the dispensary, and how they operate the dispensary," Zimmerman said.
She said the public should steer clear of such operations.
"Given the danger illegal dispensaries pose to our neighborhoods, and the numerous complaints that our Police Department receives from our community, the San Diego Police Department is taking up a stepped up, proactive role in investigating these illegal dispensaries," Zimmerman said.
She said investigators are watching out for criminal activity at the illegal dispensaries and assisting the City Attorney's Office in shutting them down.
The investigation of the shop where prosecutors say the handguns and cocaine were found, Market Greens at 4255 Market St., started in July, said Diane Silva Martinez, who runs the city attorney's Code Enforcement Unit.
She said it was discovered that another dispensary being shut down in National City was referring clients to Market Greens.
While the City Attorney's Office went through court proceedings with the owners of the property, police obtained a search warrant and raided Market Greens on Oct. 15, according to a timeline provided by Martinez.
Prosecutors allege that the cocaine and handguns were discovered at the dispensary, and ammunition was loaded in two of the firearms.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said one of the men taken into custody, Floyd Lyntellis Garrett, was indicted on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Garrett, 42, has previous convictions for attempted murder, armed robbery and battery on a police officer, prosecutors said.
The defendant, who is being held in federal custody without bail, faces life in prison if convicted. He'll next appear in federal court on Jan. 5.
Separately, a court order was obtained Tuesday to shut down a dispensary at 1716 Palm Ave. in Nestor, according to the City Attorney's Office.