SAN DIEGO — A dozen members of a Southern California ring that illegally sold millions of dollars of pot through medical marijuana dispensaries are facing federal charges, authorities said yesterday.
Federal court documents named Joshua John Hester as the alleged ringleader. He was arrested Friday at his West Hollywood home.
Federal agents served two arrest warrants in Los Angeles County and five in San Diego, rounding up 12 people.
Two dispensaries owned by Hester are among 14 clinics and collectives raided by law enforcement officials in September. At one dispensary, agents found two secret rooms behind a moveable bookshelf where pot was being illegally grown.
All the defendants are expected to appear before a federal judge this week.
Medical marijuana dispensaries have draw scrutiny in several states.
Last week, federal marijuana charges were filed against the founder and director of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry and 13 associates. Federal authorities said Roger Christie led a major marijuana growing, processing, and distribution ring.
Also last week, the Montana Caregivers Network said it was shutting down its traveling medical marijuana clinics amid criticism that they have added thousands of people to the state’s legal marijuana registry without conducting thorough patient screenings. In the future, the group will operate through doctors’ office hours.