Yet another member of the so-called “Doobie Dozen” filed a lawsuit against state and local law enforcement agents who shut down his mobile medical marijuana business in a notorious December 2010 raid.
Richard Newton Jones of Tarzana filed a lawsuit June 30 in SLO County Superior Court against law enforcement agents in the SLO Police Department and a now-defunct state and county narcotics task force. Jones was one of 12 individuals swept up in the raid, known as Operation Green Sweep, which targeted medical marijuana collective operators in the county. Despite a years-long case against them, not a single member of the dozen was convicted of a crime. The SLO County District Attorney’s Office dropped criminal charges against the last of the members in 2014.
“‘Operation Green Sweep’ was an ill-conceived undercover operation devised by the defendants and aimed at shutting down medical cannabis collectives operating within and around the county of San Luis Obispo,” the complaint, filed by SLO attorney David Vogel, states.
According to the lawsuit, Jones was operating his business, called Santa Barbara Collective, under the auspices of the state’s medical marijuana laws when he was raided by members of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Narcotics Task Force, SLOPD, and the SLO County Narcotics Task Force. The officers entered Jones’ home wearing full tactical gear and brandishing automatic weapons, the lawsuit states. During the raid, he had a heart attack and was transported to the hospital, Vogel said. The four-year-long criminal prosecution that followed ended in his favor in 2014.
“The charges were dropped, but the whole thing threw his life into disarray,” Vogel said.
The lawsuit claims Jones was maliciously prosecuted and seeks damages for his lost property and also for the emotional toll of the ordeal.
Jones is far from the only member of the Doobie Dozen to file a lawsuit because of the raid and failed prosecutions. Vogel said he’s also representing Rachael and Charles Tamagni of Paso Robles and Valarie and David Hosking in similar lawsuits. Another local attorney, Louis Koory is representing Steven Gordon, another individual arrested in the raid.
“Operation Green Sweep. Its very name suggests that it was a malicious operation,” Koory said. “They wanted to go after the collectives. They were singled out by the cops, and their civil rights were violated.”