How The Police Tried To Steal Millions In Cash From Legal Cannabis Companies

This posting originally appeared on Hashish.internet and has been reposted with authorization.

One particular of the biggest headaches with running a lawful hashish enterprise is the hard cash. Due to the fact cannabis is still unlawful in the eyes of the federal authorities, it’s just about extremely hard to retail outlet the funds you’ve built via your condition-certified cannabis business wherever else. And that leads to a different problem: security.

Mainly because most licensed hashish organizations operate and transact virtually totally in money, they have develop into the top rated focus on of burglars and robbers. They’ve had to resort to other inventive remedies to make sure that their legally-built funds gains are harmless, turning to corporations these as transporting dollars in armored vehicles. And then you have undesirable apples like Sheriff Shannon Dicus who will come and exploits the condition.

Image by Olena Ruban/Getty Pictures

Who Is Sheriff Shannon Dicus?

Dicus is the 36th Sheriff-Coroner appointed for the San Bernardino County in California, the biggest county in the United States.

Similar: This Is What Cannabis Operators Anxiety Most, New Survey Displays

The sheriff campaign website reads that he is a “proven community protection chief for San Bernardino County”. However, he has been functioning a quite filthy fraud hurting lawful hashish small business proprietors. In accordance to the equitable sharing program of the U.S. Office of Justice, the sheriff’s office can retain as considerably as 80% of the income that has been gathered by way of civil forfeitures, other than in California, lawful hashish income simply cannot be seized by cops.

The Criminal offense

Investigations uncovered that San Bernardino deputies have been seizing hashish revenue from armored cars, which they then transferred to the FBI, stating that it was to be utilized as evidence for investigations.

Starting November 2021 by January 2022, armored vans from Empyreal Logistics, which transports money from cannabis companies, had to give up close to $1.1 million in chilly, tricky funds from lawful hashish profits. Reviews from the San Bernardino Sun state that Dicus believed the seizures performed by his office had been justifiable.

“During the quit, the deputy made additional observations, like hearing inconsistent statements designed by the driver and company reps, that led the deputy to think that the contents of the van were being illicit proceeds of illegal drug profits,” said Dicus about a November 16 seizure from an Empyreal van.

Deputy J. Franco was equipped to get a search warrant then confiscated $700,000 which legitimately belonged to 4 point out-accredited cannabis corporations.

cannabis insurance moneyPicture by Yarygin/Getty Visuals

Then once again, a little something comparable took place on December 9. The exact van of Empyreal adjusted lanes without having a sign. It was also found that they applied a doc to instruct the Empyreal driver how to respond should really they be pulled more than by regulation enforcement. “Specifically, the document instructed the driver to ‘never say the phrases hashish or marijuana’ and ‘never say the names of the banks or customers we services.” A neat $350,000 was seized from Empyreal on that day.

No citations had been issued just like in the November quit.

By January 6th, the day of the third seizure, Empyreal had paused their transportation of hashish dollars in San Bernardino County simply because of the earlier heists. Instead, they had been transporting rolled coins that had been not from the hashish market.

Yet again, they did not problem citations, but the Empyreal driver questioned the deputy why their vehicles ended up always currently being focused, the deputy simply claimed that it was political and didn’t elaborate.

Empyreal Strikes Back

On January 14th, 2022, Empyreal filed a lawsuit with the US District Court docket which demanded that Sheriff Dicus, as well as DEA Administrator Anne Milgram and FBI Director Christopher Wray, prevent the targeting of the Empyreal vans. They stated that the seizures were being “highway robbery”.  Dicus assumed that the lawsuit was “no far more than a exclusive-desire crusade and a blatant endeavor to interfere with ongoing regional legal investigations.”

According to Empyreal, “the deputies had prepared the stop in progress and would have pulled in excess of the driver and the Empyreal motor vehicles no matter of how thoroughly or lawfully it was pushed.” Following all, it has turn into crystal clear that they had been only soon after the cash and hoping to get absent with their filthy fraud. The deputies alleged that a drug-sniffing canine turned them on to the van, however Empyreal denies this: “Video footage from the car or truck does not exhibit the canine inform on the automobile. As an alternative, it displays the puppy is scarcely interested in the car.”

Connected: Why Police Should Be Held Liable For Destroying Legally Developed Cannabis

Nevertheless, the Empyreal van did have a security audio technique recording. It could be heard that the deputies were expressing enjoyment about the $700,000 they seized and were thus let down about the smaller sized dimensions the 2nd time around.

Injustice for Justice, a non-income regulation firm specializing in instances that arose from civil forfeiture, was employed by Empyreal. “We are happy to have served Empyreal attain a productive outcome and return to business enterprise operations in San Bernardino County,” says Senior Legal professional Dan Alban. “We will carry on to obstacle the use of civil forfeiture nationwide at the condition and federal amount,” he suggests.

Since of this, Dicus changed his stance. On Could 6th, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Section responded, expressing that they will continue on doing the job from “illegal marijuana grows and prison enterprises,” when holding Empyreal out of the photograph. “Both sides also admit that Empyreal is element of the answer to enable with fiscal transparency and that San Bernardino Deputies are not freeway robbers as formerly documented in the media,” claims a press release by the Sheriff’s Department.


Sheriff Dicus is a key example of what can go completely wrong when the law enforcement force does not observe what takes place to the cops. Really do not make it possible for your cops to take care of you like shit the way he did.

This short article at first appeared on and has been reposted with authorization.