6 arrested during marijuana dispensary raid in Tempe, Mesa

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Carina Sonn

Posted on December 2, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 2 at 1:47 PM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tempe police raided two of the Valley's new medical marijuana clubs Wednesday and made half a dozen arrests.

Police served warrants at the Yoki A Ma' Club locations at 1920 E. University Drive in Tempe, 4639 E. Virginia in Mesa and one in Las Vegas regarding the illegal sale of marijuana.

Six people were arrested, including the club's owner Craig Allen Scherf, 45, of Chandler, his wife, Nicole Dawn Scherf, 27, and her father, Richard Ray Hagerman, 55, of Mesa. The others were identified as Renee Bruggeman, 41, of Tempe, Rodger Murray, 26, of Chandler, and Mark Siegezwki, 46, of Mesa.

Police seized several handguns, a rifle, a shotgun, about a pound of marijuana and $2,000 in cash.

An employee at the Las Vegas location was taken into custody by Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

Police began an undercover investigation into the business in July after receiving information that it was operating without a license.

Detectives discovered that the suspects were illegally selling/dispensing marijuana to medical marijuana card holders as a "gift" after receiving $65 to visit the business.

"They were basically selling marijuana there," said Tempe police Sgt. Steve Carbajal. "The way they put it is if you come into the business they will give you some marijuana if you pay $65."

Police said Craig Scherf submitted an application to the city of Tempe to operate as a medical marijuana dispensary, but the permit was denied due to the business's proximity to a residential area.

"They're allowed to have medical marijuana and we give it to them," said a volunteer who did not want to reveal her identity. "We don't sell medical marijuana here."

The suspects were booked into Tempe City Jail on charges of possession of marijuana for sale, illegal of control enterprise and transportation of marijuana for sale.

This was just the latest in what is an ongoing battle over the state's medical marijuana law. In October, a Phoenix club was raided. Cash, computers and marijuana were removed, but a judge later decided The 2811 Club could keep its doors open.

Yoki is hoping for the same result, insisting it's not running an illegal operation.

Next week, there's going to be a hearing on whether dispensaries, some which are already licensed, can open. A week after that, the battle moves to federal court to tackle whether the state law on medical marijuana violates federal legislation.

 

 
 

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