At the break of dawn on Tuesday, the DEA raided five properties in Oakland County, Michigan, including the medical marijuana dispensary Caregivers of America in Walled Lake.
Also raided at approximately 7 a.m. by Feds bearing search warrants were a residence in Commerce Township allegedly owned by Romel and Ban Casab, an office in Novi where the Caregivers of America tax bills are sent, a sports bar also in Walled Lake and a strip club on the famous Eight Mile in Detroit.
Neighbors told The Detroit Free Press that two vehicles were seized from the Casab house and about 10 agents were in tow when a Free Press reporter arrived on the scene. State records indicate Romel Casab as being the resident agent of the Caregivers of America corporation (meaning Casab is the recipient of any legal notices pertaining to the dispensary).
Predictably, DEA Group supervisor Andrew Eiseman revealed few details about the raids to the media, not providing any explanation as to why the warrants were issued, if any arrests were made or even disclosing whether or not the multiple raids were connected – although they appear to be related on the surface.
That these latest raids were conducted in conjunction with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department should be no surprise. In August 2010, two medi-pot dispensaries in Oakland County were raided by the Sheriff’s Dept, in which fifteen arrests were made, with $750,00 being seized, along with hash, pot and medi-pot candy. At a press conference following those busts, Sheriff Michael Bouchard colorfully told The Detroit News “This is Michigan, not some Cheech and Chong movie.” (Caregivers of America was not raided in that ’10 operation).
The Michigan raids come approximately a month after DEA agents raided medi-pot dispensaries in both Montana and West Hollywood, CA on March 15. This could all be part of a renewed calculated federal effort to stamp out dispensaries via IRS audits against dispensaries and a crackdown on dispensary landlords. On April 6, US Attorney Michael Ormsby declared that all 40 medi-pot dispensaries in Spokane, WA are operating outside federal law and that dispensary operators could be charged with federal marijuana possession and distribution, and landlords renting to dispensaries could have property seized via civil forfeiture and charged with operating a drug establishment.
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