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San Jacinto city councilman indicted on charges of operating illegal cannabis dispensary

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A Riverside County grand jury has indicted a San Jacinto city councilman and another man on charges of operating an illegal cannabis dispensary.

The indictment unsealed Friday charged Councilman Joel Lopez, 35, and Edward Padilla Jr., 32, each with one felony count of conspiracy to commit possession of cannabis for sale, one felony count of maintaining a place in San Jacinto for the purpose of unlawfully selling cannabis, one misdemeanor count of operating without a seller’s permit and one misdemeanor count of failing to file tax returns.

Lopez was arrested June 10 and released that day after posting bail, the Riverside County district attorney’s office said. He’s scheduled to be arraigned in October.

Padilla was arrested in Santa Ana on Tuesday and is being held on $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 22.

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Lopez and San Jacinto Mayor Alonso Ledezma did not respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately clear who was representing Padilla.

The indictment alleges that both men hired people to work for an unlicensed marijuana dispensary called “Santa Fe Co-op,” “Santa Fe Collective” or “Santa Fe” and sold cannabis products to the public through a delivery service.

Lopez and Padilla are charged in acts spanning between April 2019 and February 2020.

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