Ojai Marijuana Cooperative Files Legal Complaint Against Ventura County
The controversial raid of a popular marijuana cooperative in Ojai has now resulted in a legal complaint filed against the County of Ventura and its Sheriff’s Office. The complaint was filed on Oct. 7 in Ventura County Superior Court and accuses authorities of illegal seizure, retaliatory behavior and false imprisonment.
Shangri La Care Cooperative says it was operating legally when law enforcement officers raided its offices and unlawfully seized $5 million to $10 million worth of plants, records, equipment and other materials in October and December of last year and on April 14. Now, it wants compensation.
"The actions of the county were taken when its deputies knew Shangri La operates in accordance with the law," said the cooperative’s attorney Matthew Pappas. "The charges filed after claims for damages were made were retaliatory. Police and sheriff agencies throughout California operate with hubris and lack of accountability that has led to repeated damages for medical cannabis patients. In this case, the county will pay millions of dollars for acting outside the scope of the law."
The business’s owner, Jeffrey Kroll, was one of the people arrested during the raid. He is now facing 34 criminal counts, including manufacturing concentrated cannabis, child endangerment, money laundering, felony failure to file an income tax return and fraud. Authorities say Kroll was manufacturing concentrated cannabis with the use of ethyl alcohol—a dangerous and illegal practice. But it’s a claim the owner has denied.
Sheriff’s officials also said Shangri La was not operating legally in the county, despite what its owner and attorney says. The Ventura County Star has more on the story here.