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Pricey Cars, Guns, Cash and Pot Seized At Dispensary

Long Beach Quality Discount Caregivers, a medical marijuana collective, was owned by a local man who was arrested in raid of what police called a front for a criminal drug enterprise.

A large cache of cash, weapons, marijuana, expensive vehicles and recreation equipment was seized and their owner arrested during a multi-agency probe involving Long Beach Police Department.

Jon Storms, 44, who owns the Long Beach Quality Discount Caregivers, was the subject of a year-long investigation that involved the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT) and the State of California Franchise Tax Board.

Storms, who lives in the El Dorado Park area, was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of sales of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sales, according to LBPD.

He has been released as police sift through evidence to decide what additional charges may be brought against him, the Long Beach Police Department announced. His home and businesses were searched during the case, police said.

The status of medical marijuana collectives operating in Long beach has been hazy up until a full ban went into effect August 12 of this year, a matter the Supreme Court was expected to weigh in on at the end of this month.

However, LBPD and the other agencies involved allege that Storms has been illegally operating his dispensary since 2007. Police said he did attempt to make his business legitimate in June of 2010, when he submitted a City of Long Beach Medicinal Marijuana Collective Application, and was subsequently denied.

But it was business as usual for Storms, according to police, as he continued to advertise for his collective as well as offer his patients specials and giveaways, including free pipes. Police estimated his gross sales to be between $1 and $2 million per year, although police said he claimed much less on his taxes.

"If he had truly been operating a "non-profit" collective, there would have been no reason to provide an incentive for members to “purchase” more of what would have already been considered theirs as members," LBPD officials said in a statement. 

On August 22, police served search warrants on nine properties in California, including five in Long Beach--one of which was where Storms was arrested--ranging from warehouses and businesses to homes such as the one Storms was found at. Other properties were located in Signal Hill, Corona and in Needles.

The many assets recovered include $806,500 in cash, body armor, 14 rifles, 17 handguns, three shotguns, 17 cars, one truck, a boat, three personal water craft, five motorcycles, a 40-foot RV and seven off-road recreational vehicles, according to police. (Pictures of items seized are attached to this article.)

The collaborative investigations have yielded evidence that Storms may also own a riverfront home on the Colorado River, six residential properties in Nevada, one residential property in Mira Loma, California and in East Long Beach, a residence as well as a recently acquired El Dorado Restaurant, according to a statement by police.   

"To put in perspective, the amount of money generated by a single dispensary can be considerable when one pound of high-grade marijuana can yield up to $14,666 in profit," police officials said in a statement. "...As we worked through this case, we learned about several other properties potentially involved and we will continue to investigate."  

The public can report illegal drug activity to the Drug Enforcement Section’s hotline at (562) 570-7125. Anonymous tips may be submitted via text or web by visiting www.tipsoft.com.  

John B. Greet August 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Great big boatloads of cash to be made in the medical marijuana business, always has been, always will be, so long as it remains illegal. It will remain illegal so long as we continue to allow our federal Executive or Legislative Branches to keep marijuana on CSA Schedule 1, which prevents medical professionals from actually prescribing it -rather than simply "recommending" it- and which prevents State-licensed pharmacies from dispensing it like all other prescription drugs. We will continue to allow our Federal representatives to fail our legitimate patients in this regard, for the most part, because we allow ourselves to be distracted and duped by well-intended "advocates" who keep insisting that we should ignore federal law and, instead, pass State and local "de-criminalization" statutes and ordinances. Some day, just perhaps, we may finally wise up and do the political heavy lifting necessary to correct the medpot challenge where it actually resides....in *federal* law. http://belmontshore.patch.com/blog_posts/long-beach-medpot-doing-the-right-thing-all-wrong
Bob Polly August 30, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Well said.

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