A quartet of defendants were slapped with charges for allegedly running an illegal pot shop in San Diego, as purported by the county's top prosecutor on Friday. Jose Delahoz, 55, Valeria Rada, 42, Diego Delahoz, 30, and Edgar Delahoz, 29, are facing a slew of accusations, including child endangerment and tax evasion, after a crackdown on their unlicensed cannabis operation, the district attorney’s office conveyed.
In a statement, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan vowed to aggressively pursue those who brazenly flout the rules, saying, "Illegal marijuana businesses that sell unregulated products are an underground economy that undercuts legal dispensaries who are following the law and undercuts the laws that protect children and teens." The law enforcement sweeps uncovered over $1,100,000 worth of misbranded thunderously potent THC-laden merchandise, including edibles and loose cannabis, in locations dangerously close to a school and family residences.
Authorities executed search warrants at various sites, including a family home where children were found amidst a trove of cannabis products. The DA's announcement, highlighted in DA News Center, paints a picture of parents willing to risk their children's safety by storing an armory of marijuana where their three kids, aged between 10 months to 14 years, could easily access it.
Among the establishments targeted was Canably, a Middletown store accused of misrepresenting itself as a legit dispensary while peddling products steeped in THC. Not only did the search yield a staggering amount of loose marijuana and edibles, but law enforcement also grabbed a ghost gun from Elevated Smoke in Pacific Beach - another implicated smoke shop that was hawking edibles purchased from Canably, which sat alarmingly within 1,000 feet of a middle school.
DA Stephan, in her crusade against such illicit trade, referenced disturbing statistics from health professionals at Rady Children's Hospital witnessing a shocking 800 percent uptick in pot-related overdoses among children. "Edibles in particular pose a danger to young people who are being marketed to or find products like pot gummies and aren't aware of the overdose danger," Stephan said, emphasizing the gravity of the issue at hand.
If convicted, the group could land in hot water, with sentences ranging from probation to multiple of years behind bars. The prosecution, led by Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco, unfolds amid broader societal debates about marijuana legalization and the imperative of safeguarding communities from the perils of unregulated markets.