On April 27 at approximately 11:50 a.m., officers responded to a call of a reported extortion attempt. An unnamed 34-year-old man told officers he had just escaped from a group of people who had been holding him captive in the back room of the Sacred Mountain medical marijuana dispensary, located at 27 Parker Way.
According to a press release from the Santa Barbara Police Department, the victim related to officers that his business partner, Tharon Weighill, 45, had accused him of stealing over $400,000 from the company. With the help of two unidentified accomplices, Weighill allegedly held the victim against his will in the dispensary’s back room and forced him to sign over his share of the business in a makeshift contract. The victim was reportedly held at knifepoint and threatened with bodily harm if he did not comply; after signing the improvised release, the victim said, he was was stripped of his cell phone, car keys, and $800 in cash, and an unknown amount of marijuana was taken from his car. The victim was eventually able to escape his captors when the opportunity presented itself, police said.
After speaking with the victim, officers made their way to the Sacred Mountain dispensary and made contact with several individuals who all claimed to be employees or business associates. Officers identified Tharon Weighill’s cousin, 43-year-old Scott Weighill, who worked as security for Sacred Mountain, as the person who allegedly held the door closed and kept watch as the victim was being threatened. Scott Weighill was subsequently arrested and booked on charges of conspiracy, extortion, false imprisonment, and robbery. Tharon Weighill, who supposedly coordinated the incident, was also arrested and booked on charges of conspiracy, extortion, false imprisonment, and robbery.
Paul Garcia, 36, although not accused of being involved in any of the day’s alleged crimes, was arrested on an unrelated warrant. Two other suspects are still outstanding as the investigation continues.