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Temecula's Last Pot Co-op Raided

The DEA smashed into the storefront and agents lugged out about a dozen boxes this morning.

Temecula's last medical marijuana organization was raided today.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration around 8 a.m. broke into the storefront of Cooperative Patients' Services at 43122 Via Dos Picos.

They spent more than two hours lugging out cardboard boxes and loading them into a large white van before leaving around 11:30 a.m.

Robin Sax, an attorney for the co-op, and Sarah Pullen, spokesperson for the DEA, did not return calls by publication time.

The agents smashed the shop's front doors with batons and stormed in with guns drawn, said Felipe Santoyo, a witness who was working at

"They had cops all over," Santoyo said.

A patient, Darlene Mestas, arrived during the raid to pick up her marijuana-based medication, walked in the door, muttered, "Oh no," and walked away.

She was disappointed to see her favorite source for medical marijuana broken up, but she can get what she needs elsewhere. "I have other sources. I've been around in the (medical marijuana-growing community) for a long time," she said.

She has a condition similar to Lupus that causes her inflammation. She takes CBD, a derivative of marijuana that reduces the symptoms, she said.

"They carried the CBD. It doesn't have THC that gives you a head high," she said.

In the past, she bought her marijuana from Disabled American Veterans Collective in French Valley until the

She then moved to her current supplier, but now she will buy directly from growers, she said.

Not everybody loved the cooperative. It was a bad influence on the neighborhood, said Santoyo, the local mechanic.

"(The raid) is good because (after the co-op moved in) we started getting break-ins in cars," he said.

He recalled one day coming by and finding the front windows shattered -- by burglars, he speculated -- and he bemoaned the shop for attracting violence.

"It's a good thing to get rid of them," he said.

after sheriff's and city officials criticized him for his criminal record.

in the '90s -- before the plant was legal for medicinal use -- and was sentenced to prison time.

in September on suspicion of driving under the influence of methamphetamine and possessing cocaine.

Cooperative Patients' Services is the longest-running shop of its kind within Temecula city boundaries.

At least two other shops opened, but by the city with legal action and in relation to .

Cooperative Patients' Services refused to close down, and the city sued it. , pending a decision on a different case that could determine the co-op's suit's outcome.

Robert Gonzalez March 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Now if only the Sheriff's Dept. and DEA would do something about the large outdoor marijuana garden located at Clinton Kieth Rd. and Avenida La Cresta near the Santa Rosa Plateau. It's visible from Google Earth (Lat/Long: 33.5453 -117.2721). I try to enjoy the plateau with my family and get chased off by these guys.
MIN March 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
well done
david s March 22, 2012 at 11:00 PM
its too bad that all the meth labs and coke dealers in elsinore and hemet are sitting around smiling at this. id much rather them bust the narcotics dealers. i dont like watching kids and families get destroyed by all the meth and heroine out here.
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Very true Andy. Think how much it cost our tax payers for this cute little bust just to aggravate. Its a childs game is all it is. DEA's need to be out there getting the big drugs off the streets, out of plants that are manufacturing it in Mexico and the USA, stop the traffic'ing. Its pitiful when they busts we see them do is smash in Co-op glass doors with their batons to get in, and if I was one of those officers I would horribly embarrassed to see myself a part of this in the newspaper. EMBARRASSING DEA officer and Sheriff/Temecula PD. Oh and Hispanic dude when you can form a clear, correct sentence in English without "fill ins" by the author of the article then come to us with an opinion on your silly break in. Probably a mad customer hit it with a baton :) But I will say this, how stupid is it to have an auto repair location and store the cars you are not working on yet outside? As not in an enclosed yard or building?? This is a childs game. City, State, County give the DEA something to do with their batons. Big guys Take away medication from someone who has such a painful disease. Seriously everyone one of you should have Lupus, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis and know the pain of living with it 24/7
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach/intestinal disorders diseases, war survivors with a multitude of injuries that might heal up but pain never goes away, same with accident victims. Met a dear man one day who had pretty much smashed his body from chest to his feet, legs twisted, arms, hands. Everything was put together as well as they could but horrible pain he suffered from. Unless someone knows the feeling of the pain that these people suffer they have no right to take away from them the ONLY thing that gves them relief and doesnt kill their insides(perscribed medications)at the same time. As FIRED UP says, now where do we go for our medication? Medication that is recommended by our own Drs, well known in the area in their fields including pain mgmt?
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I could have never said it so well GC. And we all know you are correct, but unless we go Civil War and get this stuff done, taken care of and run our country without all this bureaucratic bull, we are stuck being the entertaintainment for the King. :/
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Ahh one of the million "camps" we have strung out in all the valleys, little canyons, crevices so well hidden? That one is a close one however Robert.
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Yep DAVID, as most of us agree. Keep going up, Mead opps MethValley, Perris, MorenoValley, and keep going east or west into the more wilderness areas. Camps covered up with workers in them, young girls brought in and used until they are dead for the workers "use". A Border check point that is closed way more then its open :/ and kids stoned out of their minds on heroin, coke, meth, walking around Temecula, Murrieta, doing drug sales at the Mall, empty lots, near a day care center, in front of the school when it lets out, everywhere literally and we call in DEA to crash in a glass door mind you. A fricking glass door? with Batons? LOL that is a huge show of force with guns drawn! Why all the damage like the last one? You all should be embarrassed that your education and experienced is wasted on such a thing as this, baton'ing a glass door to death. Why didnt you just wait until they opened at 830am? Hmm? They need to serve such a search warrant on each student at our high schools, pick a school, any school, and go through their bags, pat down all in one day and see how much you end up taking in DEA? Far more then you ever will at a Co-op and definately not just pot.
SPB March 23, 2012 at 01:56 AM
everyone here needs to call Jeff Stone's office and tell him what you think. 951 955-1030. Its the county supervisors who are green-lighting all of this.
TVOR March 23, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Since when do county supervisors control the actions of the DEA?
chip ondish March 23, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Another waste of taxpayer money...
SPB March 23, 2012 at 05:01 PM
@ TVOR. Most of the dispensaries that have been hit recently have been on county land, meaning the cities of Temecula and Murrieta, while shutting down the few dispensaries that pop up, are largely secondary players in this whole mess. The county DA coordinates with the DEA and sends the goon squad in with county sheriffs backing them up. Technically the Sheriffs and/or County DA cannot raid the dispensaries on their own because they can only enforce laws within their jurisdiction and State Law says medical marijuana is ok, so they call in the Feds, who have full authority to raid and close dispensaries because Federal Law trumps State Law. As someone who is still alive because of medical marijuana I find it sad that preventing me and other sick people from acquiring our prescribed medicine is more important to our government officials (both state and federal) than stopping things like the wide scale fraud of the banking industry on down to all of the meth labs around the county. Yup, better watch out for those Cancer, Aids and RA patients. They're a dangerous bunch!
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 05:46 PM
True SPB. I think my electric chair does 7 mph, WATCH OUT! Aids and Cancer patients must have it so they can eat, not just the pain. But to get nutritician in them. Dea, Police forces, and our own CITIES need to say we are not going to bother these people unless they do something illegal per the states laws. Dont care about the county, city laws right now just let people have their medications until its sorted out for Godsake. It would not hurt anyone, and its not like the kids around town dont have 3x's as much drugs, meth, coke, heroin of every color, marijuana, ecstacy and other stuff, as any co-op or patient will. A patient might have 200 worth of pot, the kids carry around lbs of it. Go and raid the schools, each child that enters and see what you turn up with and I would love to see that. Do that law officials, go and save our children from dangerous drugs that they are doing. Much more productive then busting a co-op and keeping a few hundred dollars in pot from a cancer patient. Come on City, you are playing a little kids game and its ridiculous.
GN March 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM
1) Why are our law enforcement personnel working with the DEA anyway? Aren't they sworn to enforce the laws of this state, where medical Cannabis is legal. They should have something to do that returns more value than closing these legal businesses. 2)) This is another example of our elected representatives not representing us who put them in office. It is time for us to REMEMBER at the voters booth who is for us & against us (by the people, for the people). Let us try to get elected officials to do the will of the people & get rid of those who do not. After all we voted for these laws that allow its use & I haven't seen any evidence that those in Washington or Sacramento are more intelligent than we are, in fact, just the opposite. But intelligence is not the issue, the will of the people is. 3) Medical Cannabis is the best pain killer that I've ever used. Why is it OK to pay for prescriptions that are expensive, toxic, addictive, and/or ineffective when this natural product does a much better job but has been unjustly demonized by politicians and law enforcement? 4) Virtually all medical organizations agree that it should be allowed for medical use and there is MUCH evidence that it has many medical benefits, so why is it illegal when alcohol and tobacco are & they have NO medical use whatsoever. These legal drugs have caused more misery than any other illegal drug, ever...so which should be legal?
Goober Van Steengoober March 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Get the pot heads out of town. Why dont we just dedicate a state to all of them and let them roam free. They can figure out how run a community while high. It would make a great reality tv program.
Goober Van Steengoober March 23, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Are you sure they are paying taxes? Its mostly a cash biz. Just sayin!
GN March 23, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Actually you may be on to something but I'd rather see the boozers & smokers leave & BTW, what do you see our officials do sober (?) that has been for our benefit but they do know how to spend OUR money.
Galactic Cannibal March 23, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Dude , GVS Suggest you do the same to the 100 million Americans who do legal drugs like beer and wine and get drunk and fight and beat up on their families and kill others whilst driving their cars. But Budweiser and Coors etc ...would not allow that to happen, since they have the money to buy our elected officials using lobbyists. Corruption is a way of life for the rich Americans. Always has and always will be.
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Great points GN, but can we do to get anyone to listen? We put them in office because they say they are going to support such and such, and then of course like every elected official they forget what they promised. HOW DO WE stop that from continuing to happen, term after term?
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Goober? Seriously? We cant even keep criminals in jail because we have so many! Criminals who get 4 years for driving DRUNK and killing people. If we had such a huge space believe me it would be to put more criminals including those who deal in illegal drug manufacturing, distribution, etc. Not for people that have illnesses that most times even prevent them from going far from their home except to a doctor appt or chemo treatment, or another hospital stay, or more things stuck all over in them for more tests. They cannot go anywhere to commit crimes and if they had a choice it would to be able to do something fun with their family. :/
Brenda March 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM
****Cheerleader**** for the "G men"
toomuchgod March 24, 2012 at 06:01 AM
Goober, you jovial easy-going peace cat. You know who else wanted to give pot heads their own town? The Nazis. "Stupidity is my co-pilot. But God's still driving!" - Goober
SPB March 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM
The great state of POTsylvania. But seriously, saying everyone that smokes weed is a pothead is akin to saying anyone that enjoys a beer is an alcoholic. But besides that, this is medicine we're talking about here. Not recreation.
Fired up March 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Just want to put this out there. Let's not forget the harassment the dispensary volunteers are getting from the local pd for trying to help patients receive their medicine. If we want this to change we all have to come together and fight this injustice of our civil rights.
Fired up March 24, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Goober how about getting educated on the subject before embarrassing yourself with an uneducated comment. Such closed minded ignorance.
Brenda March 24, 2012 at 08:37 PM
right FIRED. Patients that are there or arriving, the staff, the damages to the office, plants, paperwork, records etc. How can the co-op prove anything with the Police in possession of All their paperwork. Oh yes when they decide to copy it all. The last bust they broke out the walls, the ceilings, they broke fans, and smashed plants, and glass cabinets, and there is NO reason for that type of DISTRUCTION of private property. Everything was accessible without doing damage, but "THEY" feel all powerful or something going in and doing this damage, like a mafia scare tactic. "We will make sure you NEVER open again". "THEY" have made everyone victims using their authority to damage persons, and property. I feel our hands are tied until we all get united somehow?
Galactic Cannibal March 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Brenda: Please understand that our so-called "Land of the Free" ...is NOT. We live in a country where a measure of freedom and liberty exists. But only if you conform to the rules of our controllers. the millions of poorly educated U.S. red-necks in our country, will always act according to the rule book. Sadly common sense is ignored or is not there in the first place. Sadly you are wasting your time. The NAZI mentality is alive and prospering in millions of Americans in the U.S . One more thing , drive to Washington D.C and try parking your car within a mile of Congress or the White House. And see how free you are , in the " Land of the Free" If you don't move your car they will arrest you .
Galactic Cannibal March 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Brenda: Please understand that our so-called "Land of the Free" ...is NOT. We live in a country where a measure of freedom and liberty exists. But only if you conform to the rules of our controllers. the millions of poorly educated U.S. red-necks in our country, will always act according to the rule book. Sadly common sense is ignored or is not there in the first place. Sadly you are wasting your time. The NAZI mentality is alive and prospering in millions of Americans in the U.S . One more thing , drive to Washington D.C and try parking your car within a mile of Congress or the White House. And see how free you are , in the " Land of the Free" If you don't move your car they will arrest you .
Galactic Cannibal March 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Brenda: Please understand that our so-called "Land of the Free" ...is NOT. We live in a country where a measure of freedom and liberty exists. But only if you conform to the rules of our controllers. the millions of poorly educated U.S. red-necks in our country, will always act according to the rule book. Sadly common sense is ignored or is not there in the first place. Sadly you are wasting your time. The NAZI mentality is alive and prospering in millions of Americans in the U.S . One more thing , drive to Washington D.C and try parking your car within a mile of Congress or the White House. And see how free you are , in the " Land of the Free" If you don't move your car they will arrest you .
Brenda March 24, 2012 at 10:50 PM
I think I got it the first time "G", LOL. and I do completely agree with you. :/

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