County-wide Pot shop raids included Hemet’s “Valley Ice Cream” store
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. — Search warrants served at ten “illegally operating” Riverside County area pot shops yesterday morning resulted in about 142 pounds of cannabis, as well as “a large amount of cannabis edibles,” seized, according to officials.
Most disturbingly, one of the illegal dispensaries raided in Hemet was masquerading in plain site as an ice cream store, complete with images of children’s superheroes and brightly colored flags outside the business. A sign outside offered “ice cream, dry ice, candy, and chips,” but made no hint or mention of what was really being sold inside.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
The county-wide raids and search warrants, which were served Thursday, Jan. 31, by the Riverside County District Attorney Office’s Cannabis Regulation Task Force, also resulted in two arrests.
Yesterday’s operation was the culmination of a months-long investigation that involved assistance from numerous Riverside County area law enforcement and regulatory agencies, including personnel from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Riverside County Probation Department; and the Cathedral City, Corona, Indio, and Palm Springs police departments, according to RivCo DA’s spokesperson John Hall.
The purpose of the Cannabis Regulation Task Force is to protect properly licensed legal cannabis businesses and enforce regulatory requirements which protect the environment and consumers, according to Hall.
“The aim of the task force is not to shut down legally operating facilities, but rather to ensure fair business practices and keep criminal activity out of the legal cannabis industry and out of our communities,” Hall explained after the operation. “When dispensaries operate without following the law or regulations, their unfair business practices impact those dispensaries which are obeying the law.”
“Illegal or unlicensed dispensaries also may be providing customers with untested and potentially harmful products,” Hall continued.
As an example of the type of criminal activity the task force seeks to put an end to, Hall referred to the search warrant served at one of the Hemet locations.
“One of our raids was in a Hemet neighborhood at a place called Valley Ice Cream,” Hall explained. “But it wasn’t ice cream being sold there — it was cannabis at an illegally operating dispensary.”
During the search at that Hemet location, task force officials seized five pounds of finished cannabis and arrested a security guard at the business on suspicion of possessing a stolen handgun.
The ten locations raided included:
- Supreme Cannabis Club, 4186 Ramsey St., Banning
- Hidden Gem, 125 E. Stetson Ave., Hemet
- Herbs and Essential Oils, 207 E. Mayberry Ave., Hemet
- Hemet Healing, 207 E. Florida Ave., Hemet
- Valley Ice Cream, 125 N. Tahquitz Ave., Hemet
- Reefer Shop, 6058 Mission Blvd., Jurupa Valley
- The Mission Greens, 9646 Mission Blvd., Jurupa Valley
- Green Garage, 19065 Grand Ave., Lake Elsinore
- Cannabis Castle, 27645 Jefferson Ave., Temecula
- Green Empire, 72911 Ramon Road, Thousand Palms
According to Hall, the Cannabis Regulation Task Force will continue its investigations into all unlicensed and illegal dispensaries in Riverside County. Agencies currently on the task force include the DA’s Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Hemet Police Department, and the Riverside Police Department.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.