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San Diego DA Charges James Slatic and Others Just Weeks After Being Ordered to Return Seized Assets

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Image Credit: Med West Security Footage

Many of our readers are familiar with the case of James Slatic, the former owner of Medwest Distribution, a California company that supplied cannabis extracts to dispensaries legally under CA law. After the DEA and local law enforcement raided his business early in 2016 and seized his family’s assets, James and his attorneys fought the San Diego District Attorney’s office for more than a year, culminating in a victory earlier this month when a judge ordered the D.A.’s office to return more than $100,000 to the Slatic family.

One of the oddest aspects of the case was the fact that the D.A. had not charged James or anyone in his family with a crime. That changed last week when – almost 16 months after the raid – James, two of his executives and one of his attorneys were all charged with multiple felonies relating to conspiracy and the manufacturing of a controlled substance.

One has to wonder, why now? Is it a response to the order to return assets? Is it some sort of revenge? Or does the D.A. really believe she has a case and just took a really, really long time to bring charges?

The addition of Slatic’s attorney, Jessica McElfresh, to those charged is another anomaly in a strange case.

“At the outset I would say that it is always very difficult to charge an attorney for legal advice being requested by the client,” Defense Attorney Marc Carlos told NBC 7 in San Diego. “The attorney must act in the best interests of the client and sometimes that means safeguarding their interests so that they do not incriminate themselves. That being said, the attorney has an ethical duty to act within the ethical cannons of the state bar and applicable laws. An attorney cannot actively engage in activities which obstruct justice. Under these circumstances that DA will have to prove that she acted with criminal intent in conspiring to violate the law. This is extremely difficult given the ethical duties of the attorney.”

According to the D.A.’s complaint:

On December 24, 2015, MedWest attorney JESSICA MCELFRESH emailed JAMES SLATIC about the inspection that occurred on April 28, 2015. McElfresh told Slatic that the inspectors “were clearly suspicious.” McElfresh continued to say “I had to keep a very, very close eye on the retired SDPD investigator…Gary Jaus…. He’s a very smart man, and I had to walk a very fine line between being very nice and trying too hard to keep him focused on me.” McElfresh continued to say “I didn’t flirt (wouldn’t have worked), but I just kept focusing on the papers…. I’m convinced they walked away knowing it wasn’t a dispensary in the typical sense… but it probably seemed like something other than just paper. That just wasn’t what they were under mandate to look for, and hey, we did a very good job.” McElfresh continued to say “they’ve been there once and went away, operating under the theory that no actual marijuana is there. We did a really, really good job giving them plausible deniability – and it was clear to them it wasn’t a dispensary. But, I think they suspected it was something else more than paper.”

It’s clear that this case is far from over and that the D.A.’s office is not going to let it go.

“I am already out of business,” James Slatic said. “How are these charges in the interest of the public good? This is a waste of the taxpayers’ money.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. well the Da’s office isn’t any different then most other states. In Tucson ,Az. we were set up by the task force and what they charged was unbelievable and what they done was even worst. They aren’t any better then the thief’s or mafia. the difference is they steel at gun point with a badge. these people was the worst thief’s I have ever seen, and oh by the way, I was an officer for years. I have lost all respect for our law enforcement and our justice system. Yes there are some good and caring officers but to much is put on these dept. to make that big buck for the dept. What shame. Best of luck to you folks out there I hope you get everything back they took. James your right there is no good for the people out there . This is just a F-en DA trying to save face. and this person doesn’t give a crap how much it cost the people. IT IS NOT COMING OUT OF THERE POCKETS.

  2. Looks like the city knows how to extract money from citizens but not how to repay when a loss occurs. Funny how its another city in California with money issues! We might see this more in the future due to municipalities going broke and unable to meet debt obligations. All because of useless spending by worthless buerocrats, politicians, and their dogs! (I.E. lawyers).

  3. The laws prohibiting weed a medicine, cocaine once prescribed by Freud for all his patients or Opium,(smoking opium never killed single person), are violations of free fair enterprise laws that protect reasonable human liberty and fair economic practices. If things are fair anything goes, as to say you can not do just anything.
    There is a better way to solve the problems associated with drug use than the so called war on drugs.
    I will speak of one that has been completely successful.
    There is a South American nation that had a terrible problem with people dying from heroin overdose. Instead of killing drug dealers like in the Philippines and in Indochina, they offered heroin addicts free shots of heroin administered professionally. From a plague of overdoses there were absolutely no deaths from overdoses in a week. They were there also for therapy for the addicts and for aid in giving up the heroin habit.
    The sheriff of Nottingham I read many years ago in a BBC news release advised the same approach.
    I thought this fact needed some publicizing.
    So it is apparent it was not the drugs but the laws forbidding them that caused all the deaths.
    Count all the deaths since opium dens where smoking never killed anyone was made illegal.
    Now attribute it to
    the most responsible for the what a million or more deaths over the more than hundred years of opium use suppression.
    Can you tell me drug prohibitionists are not murderers?
    So is it any wonder it makes my blood boil to see mass murder mayhem and debilitation of honest harmless contributing citizens by their own government in the nation of what I am also a citizen and sufferer of this genocide?
    Punishing (killing debilitating ruining) people solely for living a different life style than ones own, while there is not unfair infringement into an other or others life liberty or property to make them lawfully susceptible to legal coercion is genocide. It is what ISIS feels free to do also. Of course they have allot of catching up in brutality to catch up with damage the drug prohibition people have done. I am sure they will never equal in harm the mayhem and destruction over the hundred or so years of popular drug prohibition legislations has accomplished.

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