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Attorney General Brown Shuts Down Illegal Marijuana Operation

Monday, August 25, 2008
Contact: (415) 703-5837

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a raid on an illegal marijuana operation that used a medical marijuana dispensary as a front for massive illegal drug sales. On Friday, August 22, special agents from the California’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) arrested two men in Los Angeles for the illegal possession, transportation and sale of marijuana in connection with a marijuana dispensary, Today’s Healthcare, in Northridge.

Nathan Holtz, age 37, is the suspected middleman between northern California marijuana growers and the Today’s Healthcare marijuana dispensary in southern California. Louis Godman, owner of the dispensary, admitted he conducted a profitable business with the majority of his customers being between the ages of 18 and 29 years-old. Under the Attorney General’s medical marijuana guidelines, also released today, medical marijuana collectives or cooperatives should operate as not-for-profit only, serving qualified patients who’ve been examined by a doctor.

“This criminal enterprise bears no resemblance to the purposes of Proposition 215, which authorized the use of medical marijuana for seriously sick patients,” said Attorney General Brown. “Today’s Healthcare is a large-scale, for-profit, commercial business. This deceptively named drug ring is reaping huge profits and flaunting the state’s laws that allow qualified patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

Over the course of the past six months, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT), led by the BNE, conducted an investigation into the illegal marijuana trafficking of Holtz and Godman. Over the weekend, BNE special agents arrested both subjects, who were caught red-handed buying and selling three pounds of high-grade marijuana with a street value of $18,000.00. During the course of the arrest, it was found that Holtz had approximately three additional pounds of marijuana in his vehicle, and Godman had an additional $9,000.00 in cash.

BNE agents served six additional search warrants at residences in Los Angeles and at the marijuana dispensary, Today’s Healthcare, in Northridge. At the residences, agents uncovered sophisticated indoor growing operations, including complex marijuana growing equipment, such as lighting, timers, and a power system allowing them to divert electrical power from the Los Angeles Water and Power Department to avoid detection of their operations. In total, agents seized more than 1,100 high-grade marijuana plants with a street value of more than $6.6 million. At Today’s Healthcare, agents seized two boxes of client records showing the average age of its clients to be 18 to 29 years-old.

LA IMPACT, which is led by BNE, is a cooperative effort of federal, state and municipal law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County targeting major narcotic trafficking organizations operating in the region.

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