The operator of one of Vallejo's more prominent medical marijuana dispensaries was arrested Tuesday, following a raid on his home, business and associated properties by federal, state and local law enforcement agents.
Matthew Shotwell, operator and founder of Greenwell Cooperative at 616 Marin St., was arrested during the joint operation, Vallejo Police Lt. Ken Weaver said.
Shotwell was arrested on one count each of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and of operating a location that supplies marijuana, as well as three counts of selling marijuana, Weaver said. He was booked into Solano County jail.
The U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of California is also investigating a potential civil action against the building's owner, Alan Wofsy, of San Francisco, Weaver said.
Officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the California State Board of Equalization, the state Franchise Tax Board, the Solano County narcotics task force and the Vallejo Police Department descended on Greenwell Cooperative after 9 a.m., temporarily detaining employees and clients alike.
The DEA was present to assist in executing the state search warrant, DEA spokeswoman Special Agent Casey Rettig said. The Board of Equalization, which administers the state's tax collections, declined to provide details on its involvement.
In late summer, Board of Equalization agents visited Vallejo businesses, including several medical
Weaver said that the activities Shotwell was targeted for were not unlike those at the estimated 24 other medical marijuana dispensaries in Vallejo.
Greenwell employees and clients released shortly after noon scattered quickly, but one employee said the DEA was delivering a warrant and that agents had stripped down all the dispensary's marijuana plants.
Vallejo Chief Building Official Gary West said he was called to the property to inspect it for construction work inside the Marin Street property and the 31-year-old Shotwell's Napa Street residence.
Both properties were "red tagged" for what West said appeared to be unpermitted additions on the house's interior, with the biggest problems being overloaded electrical circuits. West said both properties had space converted into "grow rooms" for marijuana plants.
Vallejo City Councilwoman Marti Brown, who has long pushed for the city to create medical marijuana dispensary regulations, was surprised by news of the raid. Brown said the federal government's crackdown in California seems to be random.
"I'm annoyed," Brown said. "The DEA and the state government should just stay out of things."
Vallejo recently instituted a 10 percent tax on medical marijuana sales, an initiative receiving a wide margin of voter approval in November. The city's plan to regulate and limit the number of dispensaries in town, estimated to be as many as 25 storefronts, however, were scrapped with the announcement of the federal crackdown and pending lawsuits elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the Napa Special Investigations Bureau raided a winery/residential property on the 3500 block of Hagen Road Friday. Alex Sarocco, 31 and Naomi Clark, 29, both of San Francisco, were arrested on suspicion of marijuana cultivation and marijuana possession of marijuana. Three different marijuana growing operations were allegedly uncovered, 172 plants seized and 52 pounds of processed marijuana.
Contact staff writer Jessica A. York at (707) 553-6834 or email@example.com.