California councilman indicted for operating illegal pot shop

A grand jury in Riverside County has indicted a Southern California city councilman for operating an illegal marijuana dispensary. [LA Times]

The indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, alleges San Jacinto Councilman Joel Lopez, 35, and 32-year-old Edward Padilla Jr. hired personnel to work for an unlicensed marijuana dispensary called “Santa Fe Co-op,” “Santa Fe Collective” or “Santa Fe.” Lopez and Padilla allegedly sold cannabis products to the public through a delivery service. 

Lopez and Padilla are each charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit possession of cannabis for sale, one felony county of maintaining a place in San Jacinto for the purpose of unlawfully selling cannabis, one misdemeanor count of operating without a seller’s permit and one misdemeanor count of failing to file tax returns. The crimes allegedly occurred between April 2019 and Feb. 2020.

Authorities arrested Lopez on June 10, and then released him after he posted bail. Lopez is scheduled to be arraigned in October. 

Officers arrested Padilla in Santa Ana on June 8. Padilla was being held with his bail set at $100,000 and is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.