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Gloucester City Police Raid West Winds Wellness Cannabis/Apparel Store

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Gloucestercitynews.net files

 

William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (May 27, 2021)--The West Winds Wellness store, 340 South Broadway was raided yesterday afternoon, May 26, around 4:15 PM. by members of the Gloucester City Detective Bureau, the Gloucester City Patrol Division, and the Camden County Sheriff's Department S.E.R.T.   Eight officers were involved in Wednesday's investigation; Detective Keith O'Donnell (Case Agent), Detective Sergeant Carl Depoder, Detective Joe Hopkins, Investigator John Bryszewski, and Officers Greg Coxe, George Spingler, Sean Gartland, and William Defoney. 

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 12.13.32West Winds store 340 S. Broadway, Gloucester City (CNBNews photo)

The store opened earlier this week.  

After it opened Michael Mahoney, the owner of the business, was asked by CNBNews if he had obtained the proper paperwork from Gloucester City to open the store,  "We are insured for almost $5 million dollars. I have a business license. We sell all this cool apparel. The city approved my license to sell that stuff but they denied my request to sell cannabis so we don't sell it, we give it away. I am allowed to do that. I can give the cannabis away as a bonus to someone as a gift."

"Because we are up against corporate America and the government we came up with this idea which is selling retail merchandise and giving the cannabis away as a thank you gift for buying that merchandise. We know we are in a "grey area". But they leave you no choice. We have done the same thing in California and in Colorado."

 

See article: West Winds Cannabis/Apparel Store Opens in Gloucester City; Nearby Residents Not Happy

 

Seven employees of the business were arrested, five of which were Trenton residents, the remaining two are from Camden City. They were charged with allegedly distributing marijuana and conspiracy to commit distribution of marijuana. The store's security guard,  James Davenport (31) of Camden City was charged with possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm while committing a controlled dangerous substance offense, conspiracy to commit distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park.

We contacted Mahoney, who wasn't charged as far as we know with any crimes, about the raid.

In a text message, he said, "As you can see yesterday we had a little bit of a problem. I just want to reach out and say thank you for putting out the article. Even though that took place (the raid) it is not gonna stop us from doing what we're doing we're gonna move forward.  We're not gonna let this stop us from what we set out to accomplish. "They charged everybody with an attempt to distribute CDS however marijuana has been removed from the classified CDS list. The attorneys (who represent him) are saying the charges will never even see a courtroom. Once they (the State of NJ) decriminalized marijuana it got removed from the Controlled Dangerous Substance category (CDS). It is not going to stop us from doing what we do," Mahoney said. 

 

Gloucester City Police Lt. Jason Flood, the spokesman for the department, was asked if a warrant was issued for Mahoney's arrest? Was bail set for the defendants? Did an undercover officer make a controlled purchase? Was there a photo of the substances confiscated available for publication?

 

Flood said, "It is an ongoing investigation and I can’t comment on specifics.  I can tell you that in accordance with bail reform, cash bail is not set.  The defendants are remanded to the Camden County Correctional Facility until their detention hearing. "

 

NJ.com in February released a Question and Answer article, Can I Buy Legal Weed in N.J. Right Now? Here are a few excerpts from that story, click here to read the article.  

 

Q: So when can I buy legal weed? When will the dispensaries where they’ll be sold open?

A: It could take at least a year before legal sales begin. Some marijuana industry insiders say early 2022 is likely. Murphy estimated Monday it could take months — maybe about six — to set up the industry. The law doesn’t specify when the dispensaries will open.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana dispensaries can begin selling to the public once they certify they have enough marijuana for the state’s nearly 100,000 patients

 

Q: Can I buy edibles?

A: Yes, the sale of certain edible products is permitted. But the law bans companies from making them into shapes of characters, people, animals, or as trademarked products that children may mistake for regular candy. It also dictates how products should be packaged and labeled to show their THC content.

 

Q: What will I have to pay in taxes?

A: Customers will pay a 7% sales tax and a up to a 2% municipal tax on marijuana sales. The law includes a sliding tax to be paid by cannabis growers. It will rise from $10 an ounce to up to $60 an ounce as the price of marijuana falls overtime. Those taxes could are likely to be passed onto customers in the cost per ounce.

 

Below is the complete press release from the Gloucester City Police. 

 

The Gloucester City Detective Bureau conducted an investigation of West Winds Wellness, located at 340 South Broadway.A search warrant was obtained for the premises after probable cause was established showing that the occupants were distributing marijuana (THC).

 

On 05/26/21 at approximately 4:15 pm, The GCPD Detective Bureau, GCPD Patrol Division and the Camden County Sheriff’s Department S.E.R.T. executed the search warrant at West Winds Wellness. As result, over twenty-five pounds of marijuana and edibles, as well as over $11,000.00 U.S.C. were seized. The following individuals were charged:

 

Shante Santos (32) of Trenton was charged with distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was remanded to the Camden County Jail

 

Rafael Feliciano (41) of Trenton was charged with distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was remanded to the Camden County Jail.

 

Marlin Ramierz (22) of Trenton was charged with distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was further charged with an additional count of distribution of marijuana. He was remanded to the Camden County Jail.

 

Deevonte Ellis (21) of Trenton was charged with conspiracy to commit distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was remanded to the Camden County Jail.

 

Danny Caquias (42) of Trenton was charged with conspiracy to commit distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was also charged with an additional count of distribution of marijuana. He was released in accordance with bail reform.

 

James Davenport (31) of Camden was charged with possession of a handgun, possession of a firearm while committing a controlled dangerous substance offense, conspiracy to commit distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was remanded to the Camden County Jail

 

Eric Mack (49) of Camden was charged with conspiracy to commit distribution of over twenty-five pounds of marijuana, possession of over six ounces of marijuana, and distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park. He was released in accordance with bail reform.

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