Four people have been charged after Toronto police raided an east-end Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary, which was also targeted on two other occasions in the past two weeks.
Police said officers executed a search warrant at the Cannabis Culture dispensary located at 711 Queen St. E. around 4 p.m. Thursday.
Gurpall Saini, 33, Nikolaus Petrogiani, 28, Enrique Lopez, 32, and Crystal Barrel, 29, all of Toronto, were arrested and charged with possession, possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by crime.
Police said around 1,640 grams of marijuana, $3,770 in Canadian currency and 1.92 grams of shatter were allegedly seized in the search.
The arrests came after the same location was raided by police Wednesday around 11 a.m., along with another Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary located at 2889 St. Clair Ave. E., that resulted in charges laid against nine people.
“It breaks my heart knowing that good people are being arrested and jailed,” Jodie Emery told Global News from Vancouver Wednesday after the raids.
“It’s scary seeing so much brute force used against peaceful non-violent people and to know that this government is simply trying to stomp out the dispensaries in advance of the very prohibitionist regulations that they will be introducing.”
Jawal Bacchus, 24, Shaniqua Richards, 24, Rebecca Percy, 26, all of Toronto, and Demenko Young-King, 24, of Oshawa, Ont., were arrested at the Queen Street location and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by crime.
Brandon Gordon, 23, Patrick Forar, 53, Tristan Trotman, 23, Cameron Laughlan, 23, and Mikal Alkithiry, 22, all of Toronto, were arrested at the St. Clair Avenue location. They were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking, possession of cannabis resin, possession of cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds obtained by crime.
All of the suspects were scheduled to appear in a Toronto court Thursday. Police said the total number of drugs and money seized are as follows:
- 5,159.29 grams of marijuana
- 256.54 grams of hash
- 65 marijuana vape pens
- 40 units of marijuana oil
- 827.98 grams of marijuana “shatter”
- 1.85 grams of THC crystalline powder
- 57 THC capsules
- $7,048.25 in Canadian currency
Those raids came two weeks after an investigation dubbed Project Gator saw Marc and Jodie Emery — who formerly owned the Cannabis Culture brand — arrested after search warrants were executed on seven Cannabis Culture locations along with two homes in Toronto, one in Stoney Creek, Ont., and one in Vancouver.
Marc Emery faces 15 charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery faces five similar counts.
Cannabis Culture franchise owners Chris Goodwin, 37, Erin Goodwin, 31, and Britney Guerra, 29, were also arrested and charged with similar offences.
All five were released on $30,000 bail with strict instructions not to have contact with each other, with drugs, or the dispensaries.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5400 or 416-808-5500 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
With files from The Canadian Press
VIDEO: Marijuana activists Marc and Jodie Emery speak out about high-profile arrests