Posts Tagged ‘Riverside County Sheriffs Department’

No Recourse for Hemet/Valle Vista Marijuana Dispensary

November 28, 2011

Next time you're at the Shell Station in Valle Vista, check out the activity across the street at the medical marijuana dispensary

The legitimate medical marijuana dispensary, located at 44518 Florida Avenue (across from the Shell Station at Lincoln Avenue) in Hemet/Valle Vista, has a tremendous amount of activity at all hours of the day and night.

Cars drive up and park and within 30 seconds, they take off again. It happens at 6 a.m. as well as 8 p.m. Is all this activity legal? Are all of them sick with legitimate green cards so they can buy marijuana? We hardly think so, but an officer from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said tonight (Nov. 28) there’s little that can be done about it.

The dispensary's address is 44518 Florida Avenue in Valle Vista

“The police are aware of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the area, and they monitor them all of the time,” said the officer answering the non-emergency line. “But they can’t see everyone’s green cards, so there’s little that can be done about it.”

We voiced our concerns about the dispensary’s close proximity to teens and children in that neighborhood. The Shell Station also has lots of local traffic. What if students were able to walk in to the Valle Vista Medical Marijuana dispensary and purchase bags and get back on the bus? (Conveniently, a RTA bus stop is located just outside the premises!)

There's lots of activity there, day and night

“The police cannot do anything about potential situations,” explained the officer. “They cannot bust a business on ‘what ifs.”

She suggested that perhaps everyone we’ve seen frequenting the place had legitimate green cards (which are cards prescribed by their doctors).

“They’re really easy to get,” she said. “It could be that everyone you’ve seen come and go over there legitimately has them.”

So there’s nothing that can be done about a medical marijuana dispensary gone bad? During any given day, when you fill up at the Shell Station, look across the street to see how many cars pull up and leave from there. If our 5-minute projection is correct, they may have more than 500 customers a day!

What if that dispensary wasn’t reporting that much business on its books? Is that enough reason for the police to raid them?

An RTA bus stop is conveniently located just outside the premises

“The only way an officer could investigate that medical marijuana dispensary is if someone said they were able to buy marijuana there without a green card,” the officer said. “We would need actual information.”

But who would admit to that? The person buying marijuana without a green card would be arrested on the spot! They’d be in just as much trouble as the dispensary! (Unless they brokered a plea bargain, but that only happens on TV crime dramas!)

Our tip came from a teenager who lives in Idyllwild. He casually pointed to the dispensary as we drove by in the car.

“You can buy marijuana there,” he said.

We wish he would have added, “Without a green card.”

If this marijuana dispensary is legitimate and popular as all get-out, then why not put a sign out front? There’s a large blank white sign in the parking lot left over from when it was called a tire shop six months ago. Why not put the business name in bold letters: Valle Vista Medical Marijuana Dispensary? Underneath they could brag about their popularity like McDonald’s does: “Over 1 billion customers served.” That way, everything would be above board. Parents in the neighborhood and church goers would all know, as well as the junkies, and then let the chips fall where they may.

The officer suggested that anyone concerned about illegal drug activity at the Valle Vista Medical Marijuana Dispensary contact the Riverside County Drug Activity Tip Line at (951) 955-6384. All tips can be anonymous, but if you leave your name and phone number, then an officer will contact you for followup information.

We left the tip line information about the Valle Vista dispensary, along with the editor’s name and phone number on their answering machine. We’ll see if we get a return call.

In the meantime, there’s a dispensary at the bottom of the Hill (about 15 miles from Idyllwild) where almost anyone can buy marijuana. Unless there’s proof of illegal activity, it will continue to service the area well.

To contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s 24-hour non-emergency line, (800) 950-2444.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Poaching Manzanitas Near Idyllwild?

June 13, 2011

A gray truck with wooden sides had many full-sized trees inside

By Marcia E. Gawecki

On Monday, June 13, at 12:40 p.m., two men, one in full camelflage gear, were seen attempting to cross a busy section of Hwy. 74, about a mile from Mountain Center near Idyllwild. Parked to the left in a pullout was their gray work truck full of trees. The ones on top looked like manzanitas.

What were these two men in military gear doing in our national forest? Were they stealing trees?

They crossed the road and went up a rough embankment, but didn’t appear to have any shovels or trimming equipment with them. ¬†Locals know that legitimate tree trimmers come in caravans and have lots of signs and equipment with them.

I doubled back around, and took a picture of the truck from the back and side. I couldn’t see where the men went, so I took a picture of the area where they entered. But, as soon as I snapped my picture, I saw one of them close up. He was in full green camelflage jacket and pants, and had a cap with a flap on the back (to shield the sun). The other guy was younger, ¬†in a grey long sleeved polo shirt and jeans. Both men were wearing light colored canvas gloves. But nothing was in their hands.

The dispatch operator said it was illegal to take trees from a national forest

When I got to Mountain Center, I called the Riverside County Sheriff’s non-emergency line. Kerie, the dispatch operator, took my information and said she’d send out a sheriff’s deputy to investigate.

I gave her the nearest cross street (McGaugh Road near Mountain Center) and the mile marker, 74:58:00. She asked about the color and description of the truck. I was able to enlarge my photos to give her more detail. Alas, there was no license plate.

She also asked about the nationality of the two men (Mexican), their height and weight and what they were wearing. When I had taken the picture, I was so close that I could see that one had a moustache.

Kerie said that she thought it was illegal to take trees from the national forest.

One of the two in military gear was seen coming out of the rocky terrain about 1 mile from Mountain Center

“Even if you live on national forest property, I don’t think you can pull out any trees from your yard,” she said.

About 15 minutes later, she called back to verify the location.

It’s tough times for everyone, and manzanitas and other full-sized trees probably fetch a good price. My mother’s neighbor in Sun City sold two full-sized Queen Palms for $2,000 each. It had taken them 10 years to grow, but they needed the money and someone was willing to pay.

Were these two men digging up and selling our manzanitas? The ones that were protected for all of us to enjoy? If they’re gutsy enough to take them in broad daylight, how many more have they taken?

Although it’s not illegal to purchase live manzanitas, they’re difficult to find. Internet searches came up with only a few native plant nurseries in San Marcos, Las Pelitas, San Fernando Valley and San Juan Capistrano. However, dead manzanita branches are used mostly as decorative centerpieces, and cost plenty online.

Homeowners are selling Queen Palms for $2,000 each

Its hardness, rich color and unique shapes make manzanitas ideal for designers and store owners. Their branches are used for wedding centerpiece arrangements, floral arrangements, jewelry holders and even as bird perches by pet store owners.

Perhaps the sheriff’s deputy arrived too late, and the manzanita perpetrators were long gone. But we, as locals from Mountain Center and Idyllwild, can still protect our national forest from tree poachers. If you see anyone like these two men acting suspicious, report them to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department immediately. Write down the truck’s description and if you know the mile marker or nearest cross street, to help the sheriff find their location. The non-emergency phone number for the Idyllwild area is (800) 950-2444.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

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