Law Enforcement Arrests the Owner and the Manager of Local Patients Cooperative
Seizes Inert Grenades, Sophisticated Indoor Marijuana Grows, Hundreds of Marijuana Plants, Marijuana Baked Goods, High Value Vehicles and U.S Currency
HAYWARD, Calif. – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Special Agent in Charge Roger L. Wirth announced that DEA and IRS Special Agents arrested the owner and manager of the Local Patients Cooperative in Hayward today. Shon Matthew SQUIER, 34, and Valerie Lynn HERSCHEL, 23, both of Hayward, California, were arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and the distribution of marijuana. In addition to the arrests, special agents executed five federal search warrants at the following locations: the Local Patients Cooperative facility located on Foothill Blvd., two associated residences in Hayward, and two cars.
As a result of today’s searches law enforcement seized indoor marijuana grows, hundreds of marijuana plants, marijuana laced cookies, brownies, popcorn, pies, candy, two inert grenades, U.S. Currency and several high value vehicles including a Mercedes, Hummer, Cadillac Escalade, Volvo, Dodge Truck, Harley Davidson and Ducati Motorcycles.
According to the criminal complaint, the Hayward Local Patents Cooperative attempts to disguise the breadth of its criminal activity by claiming that it caters exclusively to persons suffering from medical illnesses, when in fact persons without any medical condition can purchase marijuana at the retail establishment. During a recent inspection by Hayward Police Department, officers saw over 200 pounds of marijuana at the location as well as numerous marijuana plants.
The DEA and IRS began this investigation approximately one year ago. Throughout the investigation agents learned that SQUIER was allegedly the owner of the marijuana distribution center, while HERSCHEL allegedly acted as a manager. Furthermore, agents received information that Local Patients Cooperative allegedly operated a sophisticated indoor marijuana grow with multiple grow rooms, had hundreds of pounds of processed marijuana on hand, along with a variety of marijuana for sale and also offered miscellaneous items such as edibles, hash, kief, cookies, brownies and oils. Court documents un-sealed today revealed that on multiple occasions, law enforcement observed between 20-30 males, approximately 20-40 years of age, entering the distribution center and each departing with a small white bag with the word “Prescription” on it. The complaint also alleges that the men entered the establishment unassisted and appeared to be healthy. Furthermore, agents have observed individuals believed to be uniformed security personnel around the perimeter of the building and at the entrance of the business.
Both SQUIER and HERSCHEL are charged with the following violations: Title 21 United States Code (“U.S.C.”), Section 846-Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, Section 841(a)(1)-Distribution of Marijuana and Section 856(a)(1)- Maintaining a drug-involved premises. The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and the distribution of marijuana charges are a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, a $1,000,000 fine, a three year term of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. The maximum statutory penalty for maintaining a drug involved premises is a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty years, a $500,000 dollar fine, a three year term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
SQUIER and HERSCHEL will make their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Oakland on December 13, 2006, at 10 a.m. before Magistrate Judge Wayne D. Brazil.
Today’s enforcement operation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Hayward Police Department, South Alameda County Narcotics Enforcement Team (“SACNET”) and the Livermore Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shashi Kewalramani with the assistance of Legal Assistant Cynthia Daniel. The charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]