12 Arrested in Medical Marijuana Case

The suspects allegedly operated nine dispensaries. One suspect is from Newport Beach. A cache of weapons is also uncovered.

From City News Service:

Authorities arrested a dozen people Thursday in Orange and Los Angeles counties on suspicion of drug trafficking in connection with a collection of medical marijuana shops.

Two more suspects remained at large in the 14-count indictment, which was issued last week by a federal grand jury. One of the arrestees was a man from Newport Beach.

The indictment alleges a narcotics-trafficking conspiracy led by John Melvin Walker, 56, of San Clemente, who owned and operated nine marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The dispensaries named in the indictment that are operated by Walker are Alternative Herbal Health in Long Beach, Safe Harbor Collective in Dana Point, Garden Grove Alternative Care in Garden Grove, Santa Ana Superior Care in Santa Ana, Belmont Shore Natural Care in Long Beach, Santa Fe Compassionate Health Care in Santa Fe Springs, Costa Mesa Patients Association in Costa Mesa, the Whittier Collective in Whittier, and APCC in San Juan Capistrano.

Most of the dispensaries have been closed, but investigators suspect several are still in operation, including Belmont Shore Natural Care, said Thom Mrozek of the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The indictment alleges the dispensaries generated tens of millions of dollars in income. It is illegal for medical marijuana dispensaries to make a profit. Walker also faces a charge of being a felon in possession of firearms, including a handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun and an AK-47.

Authorities seized the weapons and about $390,000 in cash from his home last year, Mrozek said.

The other defendants are:

  • Ryan Aparicio Mondragon, 30, of Westminster, who is still at-large;
  • Danielle Pamela Stebel, 25, of Long Beach;
  • Nicholas Einar Lattu, 28, of Long Beach, who is still at-large;
  • Ryan Scott Hunt, 36, of Fullerton;
  • Perry Brooks Forehand, 33, of Mission Viejo;
  • Nicholas Martin Butier III, 32, of Lakewood;
  • Sierra Marina Serhan, 33, of Long Beach;
  • Alvin Wesley Walker, 29, of Long Beach, who authorities believe is John Walker's nephew;
  • John Eugene Scandalios, 59, of Lakewood;
  • Karen Lee Leto, 70, of Huntington Beach;
  • Craig Lawrence Leto, 49, of Newport Beach, who is Karen Leto's son;
  • Michael Alan Nixon, 33, of Long Beach;
  • Alan David Nixon, 59, of Long Beach, who is Michael Nixon's father.
xnewfaces October 26, 2012 at 04:10 PM
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Master Minded October 26, 2012 at 09:18 PM
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