Authorities Release Dispensary Bust Details

Shops in Santa Barbara and San Diego Raided; Three People Arrested

Onlookers watch as Choice Collective is raided on Thursday
Paul Wellman

In a press released issued last night, Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars reported that three people have been arrested following the raid of two medical marijuana dispensaries in Santa Barbara County and one in San Diego.

The raids culminated a yearlong investigation, said Sugars, during which his office purportedly received a number of tips and complaints about alleged drug trafficking and money laundering at Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 4100 block of State Street and Choice Pharmacy on the 6300 block of Lindmar Street in Goleta.

Sheriff’s narcotics detectives—with some help from city police officers—served search warrants at those two locations as well as Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 3500 block of Fifth Street in San Diego.

As provided by Sugars, here’s a list of the raided business and residents including what was seized and who was arrested:

Choice Dispensary, 6300 block Lindmar Street, Goleta

Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 1,100 marijuana plants, dozens of pounds of processed marijuana for sale, Automated Teller Machine, hashish, hash oil, several security safes with contents yet to be determined

Helping Hands Wellness Center, 4141 State Street, Unincorporated Santa Barbara County

Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, nearly 75 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, 200 plants, $20,000 cash, Automated Teller Machine

Helping Hands Wellness, 3000 block of Fifth Street, San Diego

Authorities seize evidence at Choice Collective
Paul Wellman

Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 35 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, $17,000 cash

Residence on the 6300 block of Lake Decatur Avenue, San Diego

Arrested: James Harder (DOB 9/19/80). Booked into the San Diego County Jail for felony drug trafficking and felony money laundering. Bail: $2,000,000. Harder is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with Craig Corneal. Harder was arrested at the Lake Decatur Avenue residence and is awaiting transfer back to the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Residence on the 3000 block of Serena Road, Santa Barbara

Seized: Nearly $70,000 cash, plants from small marijuana grow in basement, marijuana growing equipment. Harder has been linked to this property and is believed to have also lived here.

Residence on the 5300 block of Shoreline Drive, Goleta

Seized: $2,400 cash, 11 pounds of processed marijuana.

Arrested: Craig Corneal (DOB 6/9/81). Booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking and felony money laundering. Bail: $2,000,000. Corneal was arrested at the Shoreline Drive residence and is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with James Harder.

Residence on the 100 block of Sumida Garden Lane, Goleta

Arrested: Laura Bertucci (DOB 4/16/86) She was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking and felony money laundering. Bail is set at $500,000. Bertucci was taken into custody this morning at her apartment in Goleta and is suspected of helping operate the dispensaries.

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