California authorities bust marijuana club masquerading as church

Deputies in Los Angeles, California, raided an illegal pot dispensary on Nov. 15 that was disguising itself as a church and confiscated around $25,000 worth of marijuana products and other equipment.

(REUTERS / Anthony Bolante)A marijuana leaf is displayed at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012.

After three weeks of investigating the The Citadel Church of La Puente at 15554 Amar Road, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department served the establishment a warrant at 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday and found out that it was functioning as an illegal marijuana dispensary. The deputies took away between four and five pounds of marijuana products, $295 in cash, one scale, and surveillance equipment found inside the fake church, KTLA detailed.

Authorities detained a black man and an Asian woman during the raid, but they were later released after being cited. The Sheriff's Department said they had also arrested and released a white man who was not cited.

The operation came just a week after the deputies raided another illegal marijuana dispensary in La Puente on Nov. 8. More than a dozen officers busted a commonplace establishment along Glendora Avenue at 6:30 p.m. local time, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

Lt. Pete Cacheiro of the Sheriff's Department said they noticed suspicious activity at the place, which prompted them to look into the matter and keep careful watch. They raided the establishment after securing a search warrant.

During the operation, the deputies detained two men suspected of selling marijuana and hash. Cacheiro said they had also violated the municipal code which bans marijuana dispensaries in La Puente.

The officers were able to confiscate around 10 pounds of marijuana, pot concentrates, and pot-laced edible products, Cacheiro added. He said the place did not display anything outside to indicate what kind of business it was, and customers had to go through a vetting system before they were permitted to enter.

The operation earned praise from La Puente Mayor Valerie Munoz. She said they aimed to maintain safety in their community and to make sure that no one breaks their laws.