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Marijuana Dispensary Owners, Employees Facing More Criminal Charges

Grand jury announces additional indictments involving Hortipharm on State Street

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury has indicted on additional criminal charges the owners of the Hortipharm Marijuana Dispensary and Pizza Guru, both on Upper State Street in Santa Barbara, as well as five of their employees.

Joshua and Dayli Braun were initially arrested and charged in June 2010 with money laundering in connection to their businesses. The Santa Barbara Police Department has been investigating the matter since then and found more evidence of illegal activity, according to police spokesman Paul McCaffrey.

As of Tuesday, Joshua Braun is charged with 13 counts of money laundering, sales of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana and theft of electricity utility services. Dayli Braun faces 11 counts of money laundering and possession for sale of marijuana.

They applied for a medical marijuana storefront dispensary permit but Heather Poet’s Santa Barbara Patients Group dispensary was granted a permit in the same “zone” of town in December. In Pacific Coast Collective owner Charles Restivo’s preliminary hearing in September, Restivo testified that he had, on occasion, received product from Hortipharm for his own dispensary.

The Brauns’ employees who were served with indictments Tuesday include Carl Quin, accused of money laundering and possession for sale of marijuana; Gustavo Lizarraga, accused of 19 counts of money laundering, and possession for sale of marijuana; George Wardlaw, accused of sales of marijuana and possession for sale of marijuana; Ben Wilmore, accused of possession for sale of marijuana and cultivation of marijuana; and Michael Shane, accused of cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, theft of electricity utility services and possession of psilocybin mushrooms (“magic mushrooms”).

The suspects named in the indictments will be ordered to appear in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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