US Marijuana Party

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Federal agents raid marijuana clubs

By J.K Dineen
San Francisco Examiner

Federal agents raided three medical marijuana clubs and more than 20 other homes and businesses Wednesday in what law enforcement authorities are calling a sprawling investigation into an alleged criminal organization involved in money laundering and other illegal activities.

While the details of the investigation will not be officially released until indictments are unsealed today, the probe is focused on three medical pot clubs: the Sunset Medical Resource Center at 454 Judah St.; the Herbal Relief Center at 1545 Ocean Ave.; and the Alternative Relief Co-Op at 1939 Ocean Ave.

Law enforcement authorities say the group, which has ties to Singapore and Vancouver, was allegedly laundering millions of medical-marijuana dollars through a number of specialized gardening centers catering to pot growers, including one on Filbert Street in North Beach and one on Ocean Ave. Money from the pot clubs, which are illegal under federal law, was allegedly funneled through the gardening stores, which police say were essentially fronts.

"This is not a medical marijuana thing," said a high-ranking law enforcement official who has been working on the case for months. "This is an organized, criminal conspiracy to launder money, to make a ton of profit utilizing sick people and the medical marijuana laws of the state of California."


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