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“I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Cops Raid Medical Marijuana Business, Seize Over $100,000, Including Teenage Girls' College Savings

As the morning dawned on January 28, 2016, 30 DEA agents and San Diego police officers stormed Med-West Distribution, a legal medical marijuana business that specialized in refining cannabis oil for vaporizer pen cartridges. Kitted out in tactical vests and helmets, heavily armed officers smashed open the doors with sledgehammers. Once inside, officers pointed guns at the two employees on site, handcuffed them, and scoured the premises for valuable inventory and equipment. Discovering a safe, law enforcement cracked it open and found roughly $325,000 in cash stored inside. The owner of Med-West, James Slatic, even said police high-fived each other when the raid ended.

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Following the raid, San Diego police executed seizure warrants for the business’s cash and two more targeting James’s family, seizing more than $100,000 from their personal savings and checking accounts. Those funds are completely unrelated to Med-West. James lost $55,000; his wife, who works as a V.A. hospital technician, lost $34,000. Even their two teenage daughters did not go unscathed: Police seized their entire college savings, a combined $11,260.

“I’ve done nothing wrong,” James said. “We operated the business legally and in compliance with all California and local laws.”

Neither James, his wife nor their two daughters have been charged with any crime. Nor have any of Med-West’s employees been indicted in connection to the raid (the employees who were arrested were ultimately released without any charges). Yet San Diego law enforcement has refused to return the cash it seized. Today, more than nine months after the raid, prosecutors still haven’t even brought a civil forfeiture case against the Slatics’ personal bank accounts.

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