San Jose

San Jose Police Raid Major Marijuana Dispensary

In May, the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit reported on a major South Bay marijuana dispensary that violated numerous city ordinances. NBC Bay Area hidden cameras showed that San Jose Organics was willing to sell to patients younger than 21 in clear violation of city ordinances.

Today, about three dozen police, including city, county, state and federal officials, have raided the shop. The raid started at about 9:45 a.m. Brian Wong, the dispensary's manager was arrested on the spot. The dispensary's owner, Ben Lew, was arrested in San Francisco. The two face three felony counts related to selling marijuana. Both could face further charges depending on the evidence gathered at San Jose Organics.

Law enforcement was present for more than eight hours in total. Officers were seen leaving the dispensary with boxes and computer equipment. 

"When the city decided they could not win in court, they decided to use terrorist tactics," said J. David Nick, attorney for the dispensary's owners. He said that Wong's bail has been set at $1 million. Later, a Santa Clara County judge reduce the bail to $250,000 each.

Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Edward Liang says the raid is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

“This isn’t about medical marijuana," said Liang. "This is about an illegal business hiding behind medical marijuana laws."

Some neighboring businesses were grateful for the raid. 

"This morning I saw the SWAT team move in and I saw the undercover agents move in," said Georgia Narvis, a treatment coordinator at the orthodontics office a few doors down from San Jose Organics. "We were actually kind of relieved that we all saw that."

When NBC Bay Area ran its hidden camera investigation in May, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo predicted that the legal battle between the shop and the city would end in a closure.

“Eventually, we are going to have a court order to shut them down," said Liccardo. "If it takes a sheriff to do it, that’s what we’ll do.”

An NBC Bay area hidden camera investigation has exposed a major medical marijuana dispensary is operating illegally and possibly selling to persons younger than 21. Chief Investigative Reporter Tony Kovaleski reports in a story which first aired on May 8, 2015.

Updated 7/14 with newer information about bail.

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