Feds Withhold Information On S.F. Dispensary Raids

Blogged at www.ontherecord.org
by Ann Harrison
June 22, 2005

Feds Withhold Information On S.F. Dispensary Raids

After raiding three and possibly four medical cannabis
dispensaries in San Francisco today, spokespeople for
the DEA are releasing few details about the scope of
the investigation and declining to say if anyone is
actually in custody.

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting (from an
anonymous law enforcement source) that the
dispensaries were not targeted for drug operations,
but because they were fronts for money laundering.
This might account for the presence of IRS agents at
the site, but not the DEA who was clearly leading the

The Chronicle is also claiming (again from an unnamed
law enforcement source) that federal agents, joined by
the SFPD, raided 20 homes and businesses as part of
the operation. Stone-faced DEA agents referred all
questions regarding today’s raid to the San Francisco
U.S. Attorney’s office. A spokesman for the office,
Luke Macaulay, said that there were arrests but will
not comment further. Federal agents did arrest Dr.
Molly Fry and her husband Dale Schafer today. Dr. Fry,
who recommends cannabis to qualified patients, has
been under investigation by the DEA. Both were
arraigned today at the Sacramento Federal Courthouse

The U.S. Attorney’s office, the DEA and the IRS are
holding a press conference tomorrow morning at 11:30
at the San Francisco federal building. To even attend
the press conference, you must present a government
issued photo ID and a “valid media credentials.”

While he would not provide any information on the
raids, Macaulay did go out of his way to try and
shield the involvement of the San Francisco Police
Department - despite the fact that SFPD Sgt. Marty
Halloran was present at a raided dispensary.

“I want to point out that the San Francisco Police
Department did not participate in the medical
marijuana dispensary search,” said Macaulay. When it
was pointed out that Sgt. Halloran was seen helpfully
stringing police tape in front of the raided
Alternative Relief Co-Op at 1945 Ocean Avenue,
Macaulay said I should refer my question to the SFPD.

SFPD spokesperson Neville Givens also denied that the
SFPD was involved in the operation. “We are not
involved in any enforcement action against any medical
marijuana club,” said Givens. Informed that Sgt.
Halloran was present at the raid, he said he would
send a press release from the SFPD public affairs

According to the SFPD press release: “This morning,
June 22nd, the San Francisco Police Department
participated in an enforcement operation which
involved search and arrest warrants, targeting
multiple locations throughout the Bay Area. This
operation was part of a long-term federal criminal
investigation. Although there were several medical
marijuana clubs that were involved in this
investigation, the SFPD did not take part in any
investigation of these clubs or take any enforcement
action against these clubs.”

DEA public information officer Casey McEnry, who
confirmed at the Alternative Relief Co-Op that SFPD
and the Oakland Police Department was involved in the
federal investigation, also attempted to back peddle
and claim that the SFPD was not directly involved.
“They did not participate in the execution of the
search warrant,” said McEnry who nevertheless
confirmed that the SFPD and OPD were involved in the
larger operation.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the San Francisco City
Attorney’s office, was eager to distance his office
from the federal investigation. Dorsey confirmed that
the city has an ongoing investigation against a dozen
clubs that may have violated the city’s April 1st
moratorium against medical cannabis clubs. But he said
there was no link between the city’s investigation and
the federal raid. “We are not involved in the federal
raids and we have not contacted or been contacted by
the DEA,” said Dorsey who added that he did not
anticipate a large city-led crackdown. “We have
evidence that the majority of the dispensaries being
investigated opened before April 1st.”