by David Downs
In Colorado, medical marijuana dispensaries are more secure than banks — with cameras everywhere and background checks the norm.
Here in California, police leadership blocks such sensible regulations, and shady dispensaries in unregulated towns like Bakersfield end up dealing meth.
On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it broke up an alleged Bakersfield-based weed and meth ring with connections to Oakland.
"Adam Christopher Vega, 30, of Bakersfield, was arrested late Friday in Bakersfield after being charged in a seven-count federal indictment alleging that he and four co-conspirators trafficked in methamphetamine and marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Jay Fitzpatrick and United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced," according to a DEA release.
A federal grand jury in Fresno on January 16 indicted Vega and co-defendants Baltazar Castaneda Garcia, 23; Jesus Manuel Peraza Ruiz, 54; and Robert Anthony Canchola, 26, all of Bakersfield, with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Those four, along with Eduardo Ortega Chavez, 32, of Oakland, are also charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana.
According to court documents, Vega owned California’s Best Cooperative Inc., a pot shop in Bakersfield - which refuses to license legitimate medical marijuana collectives - and during that time he was allegedly trafficking in methamphetamine and marijuana.
Court documents show the defendants trafficked pot and meth between Kern County and Oakland where Chavez ran a marijuana grow operation.
“In October 2013, Ruiz was stopped in Bakersfield with approximately six pounds of methamphetamine concealed in his vehicle as he was returning from Southern California.
“Garcia and Canchola are also charged with possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing marijuana in connection with substances that were seized during searches at three residences in Bakersfield on January 8, 2014, including two that contained indoor marijuana grow operations.”