Thursday, September 2, 2010

LA Times-LA's Medical Marijuana Program Hijacked By Criminals

photo credit: Associated Press
(Story reported by Richard Winston for the LA Times)

Sheriff Lee Baca said Wednesday that the recent triple murder in West Hollywood during an illegal sale of medical marijuana is another example of how the industry has been taken over in part by enterprising criminals.

“The medicinal marijuana program that voters authorized years ago has been hijacked by underground drug dealing criminals who are resorting to violence in order to control their piece of the action,” Baca said.

He said the criminal element has flooded the business because of the outrageous profits to be made. “There are predators armed and seeking easy dollars in sales of marijuana,” Baca said.

Baca said his detectives have found marijuana collectives buying from cartel sources and selling to people in large amounts. In the triple slaying case, two of the dead men did business with at least four dispensaries.

A man charged Wednesday with capital murder in the slayings confessed to the crime during an interview with detectives, investigators said.

Harold Yong Park, 31, told investigators he previously bought and sold marijuana from two of the men and that a dispute erupted when he came to the West Hollywood apartment Thursday evening, where the victims were shot to death.

(Click here to read the full story on the LA Times website.)

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