OB smoke shop among 4 raided in police paraphernalia crackdown
by ANTHONY GENTILE
Published - 06/24/09 - 03:02 PM | 5818 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police raided four smoke shops in search of drug paraphernalia on June 18, including Freak Factory in Mission Beach and 420 Smoke Shop in Ocean Beach.

The raids took place at about 12:30 p.m. in response to numerous citizen complaints and subsequent police investigation in which underage operatives purchased paraphernalia at the shops on June 4.

“Our approach is when the community says there is a problem, we’ve always been a very responsive police department,” said San Diego Narcotics Capt. Miguel Rosario. “We’re going to respond when we get complaints that any type of crime is occurring.”

Rosario said police seized items that are illegal to furnish, sell and possess according to California Health and Safety Code Section 11364.7. This includes marijuana pipes, bongs, compartments used for hiding controlled substances, grinders used to separate seeds and stems from marijuana, detoxification drinks that assist in passing drug tests and materials for packaging and weighing drugs.

“If it’s illegal we take it,” Rosario said.

According to Rosario the raids were not initially scheduled for the same day – it just ended up that way.

The four shops were specifically targeted after residents complained about them.

“[Citizens] feel that when they sell paraphernalia it brings in clientele that are involved in the smoking of marijuana and that brings crime,” Rosario said. “That’s the perception.”

According to Kristine Lorenzo of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office advisory division, the clerks selling paraphernalia in the shops received misdemeanor charges and can face up to six months in prison, a $1,000 fine and forfeiture of the paraphernalia.

Freak Factory, located at 3742 Mission Blvd., declined to comment for the story. No one at 420 Smoke Shop at 4799 Voltaire St. in Ocean Beach could be reached for comment.

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