DEA Raids East Bay Medical Pot Distributor

  DEA Raids East Bay Medical Pot Distributor

Posted by CN Staff on March 16, 2006 at 23:02:11 PT
By Karl Fischer, Contra Costa Times 
Source: Contra Costa Times 

California -- Goodbye, munchies. Federal agents raided three warehouses and what they described as a "candy factory" Thursday morning, seizing hundreds of boxes of sweets and soft drinks spiked with THC, the compound that gives marijuana its potency.The raids, which included the Lafayette home of the business owner, shut down the largest distributor of medicinal marijuana snacks in the western states, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials said.
"There were hundreds of marijuana-laced candies and soda pops," said Lawrence Mendosa, assistant special agent in charge at the agency's Oakland office. "The packaging closely resembles that of brands produced by the manufacturers" of non THC-laden snack foods.Witness Toka-Cola, Buddafinger, Stoney Rancher, Munchy Way and Bong's Root Beer. Mendosa picked up a shiny foil wrapper containing a blueberry "Pot-Tart" and read from its label."Dosage: One pastry," Mendosa said. "Do not exceed four pastries during one 24-hour period."Most of the packaging included nutritional information, ingredients and indicated the potency of the drug in the food. Labeled as medicinal marijuana products, these items were marketed to dispensaries and medical marijuana users by the company "Beyond Bomb," said Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peņa.Buzz Fowler, who runs a medical marijuana delivery business in West Contra Costa County, said he was not familiar with "Beyond Bomb" products, but the genre is familiar to anyone who uses local marijuana dispensaries."(Packaged food products) have been on the market for about five years," Fowler said. "It's just another way that people who need medical marijuana but can't smoke it ... can still use it."While state law permits use of marijuana to treat specific medical ailments, federal law does not.Federal law permits the DEA to take action against any marijuana grower, regardless of state law. Federal authorities generally target large operations, and the volume of sales and the sophisticated marketing made "Beyond Bomb" conspicuous."We've seen a few products like this, but nothing of this magnitude," Mendosa said.The DEA learned about the operation and began investigating the business dealings of 39-year-old Lafayette resident Kenneth Affolter last October, Mendosa said. They arrested him and 11 others on suspicion of drug trafficking Thursday. All the suspects were booked into Alameda County Jail in Oakland.The suspects were scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate in San Francisco today.The others arrested with Affolter were employees or associates, agents said. More than 70 agents participated in the raids of three warehouses that each were full of several thousand marijuana plants, and another on the 1700 block of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. They also raided Affolter's home.At one of the Emeryville facilities, on Yerba Buena Avenue, authorities found an extensive production facility for extracting THC from the plants, and for cooking and packaging the candy and soda."At one of the grow locations there was a time clock, like where workers could punch in and out," Special Agent Casey McEnry said. "And there were uniforms ... blue shirts and white lab coats hanging up there."Authorities also found more than $150,000 in cash, two semi-automatic weapons and a revolver during the raids. Agents would not offer estimates Thursday about how much marijuana or marijuana products were seized, nor their dollar value."People need to be aware of it," Peņa said. "They need to know that they should look a little more closely if they see some shiny candy wrappers in their kids' backpacks."Source: Contra Costa Times (CA)Author: Karl Fischer, Contra Costa TimesPublished: March 16, 2006Copyright: 2006 Knight RidderContact: letters cctimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 17, 2006 at 07:32:44 PT

Related Article from The San Francisco Chronicle
DEA Says Pot Candy is Not Dandy -- 12 Arrested ***Group accused of making drug-laced treats, beveragesHenry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff WriterFriday, March 17, 2006 Federal drug agents raided warehouses in Oakland and Emeryville and arrested a Lafayette man and 11 other people Thursday on charges that they made candy and soft drinks resembling popular goodies but laced with marijuana. Authorities say Kenneth Affolter, 39, of Lafayette is the leader of the outfit, which called itself Beyond Bomb and allegedly manufactured a range of pot-laced treats with names Buddahfingers, Munchy Way, Rasta Reece's and Puff-a-Mint Pattie. "This is the biggest candy marijuana factory that we have seen on the West Coast," said Javier Pena, special agent in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco. "There was a great deal of sophistication that involved different labels, pretty much knockoffs of the real thing. This is potentially dangerous for kids and people who don't know what they're eating and what they're drinking." The defendants are to appear today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on charges of distribution of marijuana. 
Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #4 posted by OverwhelmSam on March 17, 2006 at 04:36:01 PT

Yeah, We All Know How Dangerous THC Is.
Our homes are full of industrial poisons, guns, knives, prescription drugs, cigarettes, mathces, hard liquor and safety hazards. And a bag of weed is child endangerment? Whatever.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on March 16, 2006 at 23:43:42 PT

Fearmongering excuse for doing a bad thing!
"People need to be aware of it," Peņa said. "They need to know that they should look a little more closely if they see some shiny candy wrappers in their kids' backpacks."Creep. He's hurting sick people and knows it...but he likes his job and that ludicrous statement makes for a nice little scary sound bite.
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on March 16, 2006 at 23:38:49 PT

Comment 1
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 16, 2006 at 23:24:49 PT

Legislative Briefs: Minnesota
Senate Committee OKs Bill To Allow Medical Marijuana UseLegislative Briefs March 17, 2006 A bill to legalize marijuana for medical use in Minnesota cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, advancing it another step in a long and uncertain journey toward possible enactment.Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL-Hopkins, a candidate for governor, began pushing the measure last year, getting it through one Senate committee then. Thursday's vote sent it to the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee. A companion bill hasn't been heard in the House."Patients battling cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or other painful and deadly illnesses should not have to risk arrest and jail if their doctor believes marijuana may ease their suffering," Kelley said. "This legislation protects the sick while establishing sensible controls."Eleven states have enacted laws to protect medical marijuana patients from criminal proceedings, and 11 others are considering such legislation, according to an advocacy group called Minnesotans for Compassionate Care.Complete Article:
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