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Old 05-17-2012, 02:45 PM   #1
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Default 19 arrested in Northern California drug bust

SAN FRANCISCO—The owners of two Northern California indoor gardening stores were arrested by federal drug agents on Wednesday after authorities conducted a year-long investigation they said showed the hydroponic equipment shops were at the center of a large marijuana trafficking operation.
Steven Ortega Sr. and his wife, Marla Ortega, of Byron, are accused along with their two adult sons of cultivating and selling large amounts of marijuana by furnishing growers with equipment and sometimes start-up funds from their Growers Choice Hydroponics stores in return for a share of the pot proceeds.
As part of what was termed "Operation Disco Dazed," teams of federal agents and local police seized a little more than 3,600 marijuana plants, nearly 100 pounds of processed marijuana, dozens of guns, a grenade launcher and other items during raids at 14 residential and commercial properties, Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Casey Rettig said.
Growers Choice has store locations in Tracy, Hayward and Modesto. The homes, warehouses and businesses where DEA agents maintain the pot was being grown and sold are located in Tracy, Rio Vista, Fresno, Salida, Mountain House and Patterson. According to a search and arrest warrant affidavit, federal officials built their case using informants, intercepted telephone calls, electricity records and surveillance. Much of the marijuana grown as part of the operation was sold on the street in Los Angeles or shipped out of state, the affidavit states.
The owners of the two stores, Steven Ortega Sr. and Marla Ortega, appeared in court Wednesday along with the 17 other suspects, but none entered a plea. No one answered the telephone numbers listed for the three Growers Choice stores, and The Associated Press could not locate current phone listings for the Ortegas.







One of my local hydro stores. Looks like Stevie got a little big for his britches.
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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a grenade launcher

WOW

intercepted telephone calls, electricity records

OUCH!
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #3
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..."teams of federal agents and local police seized a little more than 3,600 marijuana plants, nearly 100 pounds of processed marijuana...."

..."Much of the marijuana grown as part of the operation was sold on the street in Los Angeles or shipped out of state, the affidavit states..."

IMO, these people are just drug dealers, not much different than any other street dealer. And rather greedy at that.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear this Hal.

Hope you and yours are alright.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to The Hemp Goddess again.
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:00 PM   #6
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Yep these are the type ppl that make MMJ look bad to other states trying to legalize MMJ
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
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WOW! I knew the fed's are here in Cali because several friends of friends actually got a letter this year from Tulare & Fresno county sheriffs telling them NOT to plant a crop at all!!! Not sure they are going to listen because they all think it's a joke & their Medical REFERAL covers them!! FOOLS I SAY!!!
Let's just take it back to the basics 6/12.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:15 PM   #8
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okay...where do I find a grenade launcher? I need one of those to get rid of my pine-cone throwing squirrels
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7greeneyes
okay...where do I find a grenade launcher? I need one of those to get rid of my pine-cone throwing squirrels

Google is your friend

combatsportsupply.com/salemadbullagxgrenadelauncher.aspx

That should take care of them pesky squirrels
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:23 PM   #10
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sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeettt! Lock n' load. Those verminous basties are goin down...
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:11 PM   #11
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the same thing happen up here in washington not long ago......except its the asian gangs here..opening shops and lighting up houses!
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:27 AM
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozzydiodude
Yep these are the type ppl that make MMJ look bad to other states trying to legalize MMJ
AKA Perception.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:33 AM   #13
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teams of federal agents and local police seized a little more than 3,600 marijuana plants, nearly 100 pounds of processed marijuana, dozens of guns, a grenade launcher and other items during raids at 14 residential and commercial properties, Drug Enforcement Agency spokeswoman Casey Rettig said.

Might be innocent, may not be nearly enough evidence....but 100 pounds, 3600 plants...not a normal street dealer I've EVER heard of! We won't even worry about the grenade launcher, the guy could be a collector....but I bet top dollar the LEO will mention it.

Much of the marijuana grown as part of the operation was sold on the street in Los Angeles or shipped out of state, the affidavit states.

Although I've not seen anyone in this story hiding behind the MMJ defense, these guys weren't just helping out their friends and family, that's a certainty!

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:29 PM
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:40 PM
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:48 PM   #14
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100 pounds between 19 people at 14 different properties works out at an average of just over 7 pounds per person. 3600 plants between 14 properties is an average of 257 plants.

Well over any MMJ legal limits, that's a lot of pot in most people's standards.

For all we know the grenade launcher is a “decommissioned” WW2 collectors item.

Doesn't matter if it's rusted and broke, that and the other guns will be brought up, no doubt about it whatsoever.

Do you consider Ed Rosenthal to be a “Drug dealer” despite his conviction ?

Convicted of said, at that....what would you call him? Of course, that's just one thing one would call him, I'd bet he'd not like to be called late for supper, though!

Of the 14 people arrested, how many were “caregrowers” and or part of “collectives” ?

You can all but BET that, if these people had cards and were hiding behind them, it would have been mentioned....no SCREAMED about in the article. Fdes, LEO....no chance they'd miss an opportunity to roll out the propaganda and perception machines.

Face it, some people are in this merely for the money....
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multifarious
MMJ can't be used as a defense in a Federal case


whats the foundation of "that's a certainty!"

the amount? "that's a certainty" regards to the amounts. My mention of MMJ is merely to the comment that it makes MMJ look bad, it's not been stated they're trying to use MMJ as a defense. It DOES make all MJ use look bad.....
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:55 PM   #16
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And yes, Multi, we all know they love to drive up the numbers, count cuttings and such in the total etc.....mainly for making their cases stronger, but it does lend to the perception issues!
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:02 PM   #17
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Yes just like I was(don't sell anymore) Ed (Ed was growing and selling way before medical marijuana came to be) and anyone that sells marijuana is a drug dealer by the laws in MOST Countries. A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:38 PM   #18
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I believe if no one was really harmed in any specific instance then they should be let go. 2nd amendment exists for a reason. I'd much rather have a bunch of people like this doing business than another cigarette company like RJ Reynolds or Philip Morris. Because at the end of the day I see no major difference.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:03 PM   #19
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I know we only have the story the police gave to the reporters, and the police will lie to anyone if it will get them what they want, they have said as much, but the people who got busted are mostly to blame because they diden't do it right, and follow the state laws to the letter. It is a brave new world compaired to the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and Marijuana is more widely excepted by the people of this country than it has been since congress started the lie 70+ years ago, but it has not yet reached a point where the majority of the people realize the benifits that MJ offers, and in so doing, realize that the Mj laws were really just a lie to begin with.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roddy
You can all but BET that, if these people had cards and were hiding behind them, it would have been mentioned....no SCREAMED about in the article. Fdes, LEO....no chance they'd miss an opportunity to roll out the propaganda and perception machines.
I love assumptions, that is why I posted this.

I know these folks personally. Many Years. Many Stories. I watched it all start...and fail. haha.

First thing, DUH..they ALL had thier MMJ paperwork for one thing. No mention at all in the raids. Think about it folks, it was strickly a Federal Raid...they are not going to mention MMJ defense at all.
Now, don't get me wrong at all. Steve was shady for sure. I watched him come up and the way he did biz was full nOOb.

What the Feds claim is true, absolutly. He was blowin' up everyone and anyone....that was his downfall. Greed.
If you look at the others arrested, there were mostly 20 somethings, friends of his 25 y/o kid.

He is str8 cooked. There was an informant on the inside.

I LOVE your statements Multi, but he was dirty bro. The houses the ran all had power stolen, another item not in the paper.

Now, if Steve had not involved guns and stealing power, he would have been following State Law. That is why he was arrested by Federal agencies. With the right MMJ paperwork, you can grow up to 500 plants per spot. Federally, you can't grow any.

The way they put together the case is under federal umbrella. They are cooked. Most of the charges carrry mandatory minimums of 20+ years.

Now, I am not defending Steve, as he had it coming. Plain stupid, that is why I never had any dealings with him. I am fortunate and have not talked to him personally in a couple of years...THANK GOD.

If you think this is an isolated incident, you are being nieve. I am willing to bet my house that there are more then a few hydro stores doing similar things in ALL medical States. Believe that.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:03 PM
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