The Long Beach Police Department, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT), and the State of California Franchise Tax Board, has made an arrest of an individual after a large scale one-and-a-half-year financial investigation relating to an illegal marijuana dispensary, which also resulted in the seizure of currency, property, narcotics, vehicles, watercraft and firearms.
Through a collaborative effort, the investigation allowed for the evaluation of assets belonging to 44-year-old Jon Storms of Long Beach, which indicated that he owned: multiple classic automobiles (some purchased from a high-end classic car company); a riverfront home on the Colorado River; six residential properties in Nevada; one residential property in Mira Loma, California; one residential property in east Long Beach; and the recently acquired El Dorado Restaurant, also located in east Long Beach.
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, search warrants were served at nine locations that included residences, businesses and warehouses. Five of those locations were in Long Beach, one in Signal Hill, one in Corona, and two in Needles, California. One of those search warrants was served at a Long Beach residence, and it was there that Storms was located and arrested for sales of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sales. An abundance of items was seized at the various search-warrant locations, which included:
• $806,500 in cash
• body armor
• 14 rifles
• 17 handguns
• three shotguns
• 17 cars
• one truck
• one boat
• three personal water craft
• five motorcycles
• one 40-foot RV
• seven off-road recreational vehicles
Storms owns and operated Long Beach Quality Discount Caregivers, a marijuana collective located at 1150 San Antonio Dr. in north Long Beach. He originally submitted a City of Long Beach medicinal marijuana collective application on June 14, 2010, although he had been operating the business since 2007. The application was subsequently denied, and no permit was issued; however, Storms continued operating his dispensary regardless, according to the LBPD.
As part of doing business, he advertised, offered coupons, offered free marijuana to the first 20 customers on specific days, gave away pipes, and offered discounts on the 1st and 15th of every month. “If he had truly been operating a ‘nonprofit’ collective, there would have been no reason to provide an incentive for members to ‘purchase’ more of what would have already been considered theirs as members,” reads a press release issued by the LBPD Tuesday.
Investigators estimate the gross sales from the dispensary to be between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 annually; however, Storms claimed a very modest annual income, according to the LBPD.
“As we worked through this case, we learned about several other properties potentially involved, and we will continue to investigate,” states the LBPD press release. “Although Storms was released after his arrest to allow detectives time to conduct a thorough review of the vast amounts of financial documents and other evidence seized, we will continue to work with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to determine what charges will be brought against him. These for-profit dispensaries erode the quality of life in our neighborhoods and attract crime. The City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to investigate these criminal enterprises with the goal of making our community safer.”
To report any illegal narcotic activity, the community should contact the Drug Enforcement Section’s hotline at (562) 570-7125. Anonymous tips may be submitted via text or web by visiting tipsoft.com .
Background provided by LBPD:
Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act and Senate Bill 420, were enacted in the State of California to allow the use of marijuana for those who are seriously ill and with a legitimate doctor’s recommendation. Law enforcement recognizes and responds to the compassionate cases and the law that makes medical marijuana available to those who qualify.
The City of Long Beach attempted to facilitate the spirit of these laws by enacting a local ordinance to regulate collectives. However, the result was a creation of the storefront dispensaries selling marijuana over the counter for a profit. The City of Long Beach has since enacted a full ban on all marijuana dispensaries. Some dispensaries have self-abated, however, many have failed to comply with the law and continue to reap the rewards of their illegal activity.