San Jacinto City Council, Joel Lopez, Edward Padilla Jr., charged with running an illegal marijuana dispensary

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Riverside (CBSLA) – San Jacinto City Councilor Joel Lopez and another man are charged with allegedly running an illegal marijuana dispensary, the Riverside County District Attorney said Friday.

San Jacinto City Councilors, Joel Lopez, left, and Edward Padilla Jr., right, have been charged with running an illegal cannabis dispensary. (Source: Riverside County District Attorney’s Office)

Lopez, 35, and Edward Padilla Jr., 32, also from San Jacinto, were charged with conspiracy and maintaining an illegal marijuana plant. They also face offenses for selling cannabis without a permit and for not filing a sales and use tax return with the state.

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According to prosecutors, an investigation opened in 2019 after evidence emerged that the men allegedly ran a pharmacy under the brand names “Santa Fe Co-Op”, “Santa Fe Collective” and “Santa Fe”.

The couple also reportedly hired others to run the illicit pharmacy at 1190 S. San Jacinto Ave. to lead, so the prosecutor.

The indictment also alleges that the men “offered cannabis or THC products for sale in display cases” and “sold cannabis or THC products … to the public”. They also reportedly used a mobile delivery service to sell the product.

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It wasn’t immediately clear how much money the men were making from the illegal operation or when it was closed.

Lopez, who was elected to his first term in November 2018, was arrested on June 10. He left bail and was released the same day.

Padilla was taken into custody Tuesday and was held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on bail of $ 100,000.

Neither the city council nor Padilla have a criminal record in the county. Padilla is due to be indicted next week, while charges against the city council are slated for October.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)