A report about marijuana being sold illegally at a smoke shop on Lander Avenue turned into a multi-agency compliance check of smoke shops across Turlock on Tuesday.
A total of 10 businesses were visited, resulting in seven seizures, six citations issued (four civil and two criminal). Black-market marijuana, flavored inhalants, and flavored tobacco products were also seized as a result of the search warrant at the Lander Avenue business.
The Turlock Police Department Special Investigations Unit, with the assistance from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration and City of Turlock personnel, executed a search warrant in the 500 block of Lander Avenue at approximately 10 a.m. Tuesday, after the City was notified of illegal marijuana sales along with flavored tobacco sales in violation of state law.
The CA Department of Tax and Fee is responsible for inspecting businesses and ensuring that all tobacco products are bought and sold legally. Turlock City Hall personnel also participated by hand delivering cease and desist letters to businesses that were out of compliance, notifying stores that they are in violation of Turlock Municipal Code and state law, and if not corrected, may result in City action to abate public nuisances and put business licenses at risk.
“As we were approaching some of these businesses, word had spread of our operation and employees had removed illegal products from stores. The Turlock Police Department will continue to conduct compliance checks to ensure businesses continue to follow state laws and local ordinances,” said Turlock Police Sergeant Joey Rodriguez.
Investigators will be working with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office to pursue charges for illegal marijuana and flavored tobacco product sales.
“As fentanyl becomes more prevalent within communities, it is important that we ensure untested and unregulated black-market marijuana is not accessible to youth and unsuspecting consumers, as it could present a risk to health and safety. We are grateful to the agencies who came together to combat the sales of these harmful products in Turlock,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden.
Fentanyl is extremely potent. It is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the California Department of Public Health. Illicit fentanyl can be added to other drugs to make them cheaper, more powerful, and more addictive. Fentanyl mixed with any drug increases the likelihood of a fatal overdose.
In December 2022, a Merced toddler was hospitalized after ingesting fentanyl-laced marijuana products in his home.
Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding illegal marijuana or tobacco sales, call the Drug Line at (209)668-5550 extension 6117. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209)668-5550 extension 6780 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.