NEEDLES – Two men were arrested by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office Thursday for allegedly selling marijuana illegally at a Needles marijuana dispensary. William Champlin, 59, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona and Victor Hernandez, 28, of Needles, California were taken into custody after members of the Sheriff’s Marijuana Enforcement Team served a search warrant at the H Street Patient Care marijuana dispensary in downtown Needles. Authorities say Champlin had active arrest warrants that included four charges filed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office for the illegal sales of marijuana. Hernandez, an employee at H Street Patient Care, was also charged with illegal sales of marijuana. Both were at the business when police served their search warrant Thursday morning. The arrests and search warrant stemmed from a nearly three year investigation into alleged illegal sales of marijuana at the facility. In addition to the building, Champlin’s residence in Lake Havasu City was also searched with the assistance of the Lake Havasu City Police Department’s Narcotics Division. During the search of the dispensary, authorities uncovered approximately five pounds of processed marijuana, 10 grams of concentrated cannabis, edible marijuana products and documents. Additional evidence was also seized from Champlin’s residence, reported the SBCSO’s public affairs office. The list of those items discovered by police were not released. Investigators say Champlin and Hernandez were allegedly not in compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws and that Champlin was a resident of Arizona deeming him ineligible for the protections afforded to qualified California medical marijuana patients. The agency added that the Marijuana Enforcement Team will continue to investigate individuals found to be circumventing California law by making false claims of residency. Earlier this year, a multi-agency investigation was conducted over a two-day period into the operations of four medical marijuana dispensaries in Needles for reported illegal sales. All four dispensaries were closed during the investigation, but were later reopened for regular business operations. No arrests were made at that time, citing the cases would be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for further review. But on Thursday, Champlin and Hernandez were taken to the Colorado River Division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office in Needles. Police urge anyone with information regarding the above investigation, to contact the Sheriff’s Narcotics Division a 909-890-4840. Callers wishing to remain annoynmous can make their tips by calling the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-782-7463 (CRIME) or by visiting www.wetip.com.
by CAT SMITH