SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officers admitted yesterday to committing petty theft and vandalism during a legal search of a marijuana dispensary pursuant to a search warrant.
|Defendant||Charges||Terms and Conditions of Plea|
Jorge Arroyo, 34
Nicole Lynn Quijas, 39
Submitted to the court a No Contest plea and admitted committing:
|Brandon Matthew Sontag, 33||
Circumstances of the Case
- At approximately 5:50 p.m. on May 26, 2015, Arroyo, Quijas, and Sontag, along with other SAPD officers, were serving a search warrant signed by a magistrate on Sky High Holistic, a marijuana dispensary on 17th Street in Santa Ana.
- It was alleged that the dispensary was operating without proper permits to sell medical marijuana. The dispensary had two video surveillance systems, a visible 16-camera system and a hidden 4-camera system.
- SAPD personnel legally disabled 16 surveillance cameras, following investigatory and officer safety protocol. The hidden 4-camera system continued to record during the execution of the search warrant.
- Sontag damaged five of the previously disabled surveillance cameras, each valued between $80 and $100, by banging and smashing the camera lenses into the corner of a display case, cash register, shelf a and a safe.
- At various times, Sontag and Quijas entered the break room and each one of them took one protein bar available to staff. All three defendants consumed the food items.
- Before leaving the premises at the conclusion of the search warrant, Quijas and Arroyo took extra cookies with them.
The Orange County District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation conducted a thorough investigation, including interviewing multiple witnesses and reviewing over 16 hours of unedited video surveillance footage with the cooperation of SAPD. There was no evidence that any SAPD personnel consumed any edible marijuana items available at the dispensary.
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian, Special Prosecutions Unit
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CM02387 / November 1, 2017