Ex-Santa Ana Cops Avoid Jail For Theft, Vandalism During Pot Raid

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Three former Santa Ana police officers will not serve any jail time after admitting Tuesday to destroying property and stealing food while searching a marijuana dispensary back in 2015.

Jorge Arroyo, 34, and Nicole Lynn Quijas, 39, pleaded no contest in Orange County Superior Court to one count each of petty theft. Brandon Matthew Sontag, 33, pleaded no contest to petty theft and vandalism, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The officers were sentenced to between 40 and 80 hours of community service and ordered to pay $200 to a victim witness emergency fund. Sontag was also ordered to pay full restitution for the damage.

On May 26, 2015, the officers were serving a search warrant at Sky High Holistic on 17th Street when the illegal behavior occurred. Santa Ana police were investigating whether the dispensary was operating without proper sales permits.

The dispensary had 16 surveillance cameras that were legally disabled during the search, the DA’s office reports. However, there was a hidden four-camera system that continued to record.

During the search, Sontag damaged five of the disabled surveillance cameras, prosecutors said, while Quijas and Arroyo entered the dispensary’s break room and stole food items, such as protein bars, that all three officers later ate.

None of the officers consumed any edible marijuana items, prosecutors claim.

In March of 2016, Marla James, a volunteer at the dispensary, spoke to CBS2 about being taunted by officers during the raid.

“These are professionals, and they should be acting professional,” James said. “They shouldn’t be playing darts. They shouldn’t stealing products.”

In Oct. 2016, the city of Santa Ana paid the dispensary $100,000 to settle a federal lawsuit over the raid, according to the Orange County Register.

The three officers were dismissed from the police department in April and May of last year, the Orange County Register reports.

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