A Yucaipa man is one of six people arrested Thursday morning on federal drug trafficking charges in connection with marijuana stores in Colton, Upland and Moreno Valley, and an Ontario warehouse where marijuana was cultivated for the stores, according to the Department of Justice.
Brandon Anton Gustafson, 30, of Yucaipa, allegedly worked at the warehouse that supplied marijuana to three stores operated by G3 Holistic, Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a statement.
G3 Holistic of Upland's website, www.g3meds.com, advises the business is
"Open 7 Days a Week. 8AM - 9PM
"We are located at 1710 West Foothill Boulevard Upland, CA 91786. Serving patients in the Inland Empire, Pomona, and Covina areas. Must have valid doctors recommendation and ID in order to be granted entry. Must be at least 21 years of age"
No one answered the phone at G3 Holistic of Upland on Thursday afternoon.
The Colton location is 1231 E. Washington St. Suite D, the Moreno Valley location is 12276 Perris Blvd. Suite B, and the Ontario warehouse where marijuana was cultivated for the businesses is at 451 E. Kettering Drive, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.
The six-count indictment returned last week by a federal grand jury charges the three owners and operators of the stores, and two other people allegedly employed at the warehouse, Mrozek said.
Arrested and accused Thursday morning were G3 founder-owners Aaron Sandusky, 41, of Rancho Cucamonga, and John Leslie Nuckolls II, 31, of Rialto; Keith Alan Sandusky, 44, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was in charge of day-to-day G3 operations; Paul Neumann Brownbridge, 29, of Upland, Richard Irwin Kirchnavy, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga, and Gustafson, who worked at the Ontario warehouse.
Attorneys for the accused could not immediately be reached for comment.
The six defendants were expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside. Future court hearings in the case will be in federal court in Los Angeles, Mrozek said.
"The indictment and arrests come after the owners of the stores received written warnings about eight months ago that G3's marijuana stores were operating in violation of federal law," Mrozek said.
"While G3's owners and operators shuttered the stores in Colton and Moreno Valley, the Upland store remained open, even after federal authorities executed two separate search warrants at the Upland location, filed an asset forfeiture lawsuit against the property housing the G3 Upland store, and filed a second asset forfeiture lawsuit against nearly $11,500 in cash seized in November by federal agents during the execution of search warrants at the Upland store and the residence of the lead defendant."
The six defendants in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to manufacture and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison, Mrozek said.
"Additionally, each defendant is named in at least one count of maintaining drug-involved premises, a charge that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison," Mrozek said.
A pdf copy of the indictment is attached to this report.
A financial analysis by IRS agents identified 19 different bank accounts associated with G3 Holistic Inc., Sandusky and Nuckolls, and the accounts received deposits of more than $3.3 million during an eight-month period in 2011, previously filed civil forfeiture complaints allege.
The IRS analysis showed withdrawals from the accounts in amounts almost equal to the $3.3 million in deposits, which were "believed to be intended to maintain the facade of G3 Holistic as a non-profit organization," according to the Department of Justice.
The indictment targeting the operators of the G3 store is the second criminal case against the operators of a retail outlet in the Los Angeles area that is part of the marijuana enforcement initiative announced by the California United States Attorneys in October. A trial in the NoHo Caregivers case is scheduled for February 26, 2013.
The investigation of G3 was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS - Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, the Ontario Police Department, and the Upland Police Department.