BROKEN WINDOW LEADS TO MARIJUANA ARRESTS
Posted: March 9th, 2012 2:42 PM
Photo/sound file: http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2012-03/1095/52420/ray_entrekin.jpg
Photo/sound file: http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2012-03/1095/52420/Espinoza_Maria.jpg
Photo/sound file: http://www.flashalertnewswire.net/images/news/2012-03/1095/52420/edward_lara.jpg
Salem Police Street Crimes Detectives, assisted by the Salem Area Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force and Marion County Sheriff's Office Street Crimes Detectives searched three business locations, several vehicles and two residences in an extended investigation into the possession and distribution of Marijuana.
The incident began early in the morning of March 6 when a citizen reported a broken window and possible burglary at Smokey's Novelties, 285 Liberty St NE, #160. Salem Police patrol officers responded to the scene and found a rear window to the business had been broken with boxes stacked beneath the window, indicating a possible burglary. As officers and canines checked the business for a possible burglary suspect inside, they saw marijuana and numerous items in plain view that were indicative of the use and distribution of marijuana. When the business owner arrived on scene he was found to have marijuana, drug paraphernalia and drug records in his vehicle. The business owner, 31-year old Edward Lara, was with his girlfriend, 34-year old Maria Espinoza, who is the manager of the business.
As the investigation continued Street Crimes Detectives obtained search warrants to search Smokey's Novelties, two other Smokey's business locations in Salem and the residence of Edward Lara and Maria Espinoza.
The search of Smokey's Novelties at 285 Liberty St NE led to the seizure of over $300 in US currency, suspected illegal "Spice" and "bath salts," a handgun, drug packaging materials, drug paraphernalia, drug records, several glass smoking pipes with marijuana in them and ready to smoke and over two pounds of dried marijuana. Investigators also located hundreds of items of glassware and smoking pipes valued at approximately $273,000. "Spice" is a synthetic cannabinoid (cannabis)-type substance and is a Schedule 1 controlled substance. "Bath Salts" are similar in affect to cocaine and is also a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
The search of Smokey's Lounge at 1830 13th St SE led to the seizure of $40 in US currency, drug records, drug packaging materials, drug scales, nearly one-half pound of dried marijuana and nearly three pounds of edible marijuana items.
The search of Smokey's Novelties at 2080 Lancaster Dr NE led to the seizure of drug records, a computer and multiple boxes of suspected illegal "Spice."
The search of Lara's and Espinoza's residence in southeast Salem led to the seizure of nearly 1/2 ounce of dried marijuana, a small amount of Cocaine and over $7,600 in US currency. There were also four minor children living in the residence ranging in age from 10 to 17 years old. The children were taken into protective custody and released to the custody of the Department of Human Services.
As the investigation was progressing, investigators contacted 73-year old Salem resident Ray Entrekin. Entrekin is enrolled as a grower in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, but was found to be outside of program rules by selling large quantities of marijuana to Edward Lara, who is not enrolled in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, for the past several years. Entrekin was also found to be outside of program rules by exceeding the number of plants he can legally grow. A search of his residence led to the seizure of nearly a pound of dried marijuana, 35 mature marijuana plants, $1,245 in US currency and his 2005 Hummer H2 SUV that was used in the illegal sales of his marijuana.
Edward Lara was arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana, Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana, Delivery of a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Cocaine and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
Maria Espinoza, who is enrolled in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program as a caregiver only, was found to be in violation of program rules by managing the business where marijuana is allegedly being distributed and alleged use of the marijuana. She was arrested and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana, Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana, Delivery of a Controlled Substance Within 1000 Feet of a School, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Cocaine and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
Ray Entrekin is enrolled in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program as a grower and was outside of program rules by selling marijuana to people who are not enrolled in the program and exceeding the number of plants he can grow. He was arrested and charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance-Marijuana.
This was a coordinated and combined effort of the Salem Police Department Patrol Division, Salem Police Department Street Crimes Unit, DEA Salem Task Force and Marion County Sheriff's Office Street Crimes Unit. Salem Deputy Police Chief James Ferraris, who is also on the Oregon High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Board, said "This case is indicative of how people and businesses are exploiting the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. Too many people are trying to take advantage of this program in order to illegally possess and distribute marijuana in our communities."
The investigation is continuing, and more charges are likely.
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