Checking Bonnie’s facts – San Diego City Beat

Was the D.A. leveling with us at her pot-raid news conference?
By Dave Maass

After the Sept. 9 raids on 14 medical cannabis dispensaries, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis issued a press release gloating about how she shut down the operations of “drug dealers.” Yet, Dumanis provided very little evidence to back up her blanket claims. CityBeat presents this fact check:

Claim No.1: The dispensaries “were operating under the guise of selling marijuana and marijuana-laced products for medicinal purposes.”

According to eight search-warrant affidavits filed in state court and two filed in federal court by the officers leading the stings, in no case did a dispensary distribute marijuana to a client without the required medical doctor’s recommendation. However, 14 tablets of MDMT, aka Ecstasy, were seized from the home of two dispensary operators—Jovan Jackson and Lee Bumpers of Answerdam Rx. Human-growth hormones were also found at the home of Joseph Nunes of Green Kross Collective, the U.S. Attorney’s office told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Claim No. 2: “Residents living near some of the storefronts have complained to law enforcement and local government about an increase in crimes associated with the dispensaries—including robberies and vandalism.”

Using the San Diego Regional Justice Information Systems—an online service that records and maps all criminal complaints—CityBeat searched for vandalism (often classi afied as “malicious mischief”) and robberies within a quarter-mile of each dispensary and found no significant change in crime. For example, Total Herbal Care’s ’hood (4600 block of Cass Street), saw a drop from 11 vandalism cases and three robberies to three cases of vandalism and two robberies between July and September. The 3500 block of Ashford Street, home of Nature’s Rx, saw three cases of vandalism and no robberies in the beginning of the year but zero cases of either crime between April and September.

Claim No. 3: “As a result of the search warrants, law enforcement seized marijuana at each location, more than $70,000 in cash and six guns.”

CityBeat reviewed eight seizure receipts filed with the central branch of the Superior Court and found that police did seize the entire stock of cannabis products. Yet, there was nowhere near that amount of cash on hand. In total, those eight only accounted for $10,485 in cash, less than 15 percent of the purported total. As the Union-Tribune reported, $38,000, the majority of the money, was confiscated from a single dispensary owner, Nunes of Green Kross Collective. No guns were confiscated as a result of the eight search warrants filed in Superior Court.

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