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Updated Mar 13, 2014 - 5:37 pm

MCSO crackdown nets 39 arrests for selling fake medical pot

PHOENIX - Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies have been cracking down on fake medical marijuana dispensaries in the Valley.

The illegal dispensaries are known as compassion clubs, and sell marijuana without the required licensing through the Arizona State Department of Health Services.

Since March 3, MCSO deputies have made 39 arrests and seized lots of property in connection with the alleged illegal businesses.

"In the past week our sheriff's office narcotic detectives made about 39 arrests, half a ton of marijuana was seized," said Sheriff Joe Arpiao. "Over $230,000 in cash, a actually had an ATM concealing some marijuana in it."

Arpiao said the compassion clubs have become popular in the state after the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona in 2010. He added that usually compassion clubs only sell to club members, but undercover deputies were able to walk into the stores and purchase the marijuana.

In addition to the arrests and seizures of cash, weapons and drugs, Arpaio said they have seized one home and are searching two others, believed to be large grow houses that produce the marijuana.

"Right now we're searching three (houses), two in Laveen and we do know that there's large amounts of marijuana and other types of equipment in those residences," Arpaio said.

All the suspects arrested have been booked into jail and are facing various drug and money laundering charges.

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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