Screenshot of video showing Santa Ana, Calif., police raiding unpermitted medical marijuana dispensary Sky High Holistic in May 2015. (YouTube)

Officers charged with stealing snacks, vandalism in California pot shop raid

2015 raid caught on video: 3 officers accused of taking weed-free food from break room of Santa Ana dispensary; one faces vandalism charge for allegedly smashing surveillance cameras

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Three Santa Ana police officers were charged Monday with misdemeanor petty theft and one with vandalism for allegedly stealing snacks and damaging surveillance cameras during last year’s raid on a marijuana dispensary that was caught on video.

Officers Brandon Matthew Sontag, 31; Nicole Lynn Quijas, 37; and Jorge Arroyo, 32, were charged with one count each of petty theft. Sontag was also charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism for allegedly smashing the lenses of some of the dispensary’s surveillance cameras.

The three are scheduled to be arraigned April 11. It wasn’t immediately known if they had retained attorneys. Calls and messages left with the Santa Ana Police Department and Santa Ana Police Officers Association were not immediately returned.


Video from May 26, 2015 raid on California marijuana dispensary Sky High Holistic:


The three were among several officers serving a search warrant on the Sky High Holistic marijuana dispensary on May 26 after authorities concluded it was operating without permits.

Prosecutors said that during the raid the three officers were seen entering the dispensary’s break room at various times and helping themselves to cookies and protein bars, none of which were determined to contain marijuana.

They consumed some of the snacks, handed others out to fellow officers and, when the raid was over, Quijas and Arroyo took some with them, authorities said.

When the raid began, the officers disabled 16 dispensary cameras, which prosecutors say is standard procedure during such operations to ensure officer safety. They missed four others, which recorded the pilfering and smashing of lenses of five cameras.

If convicted, Arroyo and Quijas could be sentenced to as much as six months in jail and fined $1,000. Sontag faces a maximum of 18 months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Although the officers shared some of the protein bars and cookies with other officers, prosecutors say there wasn’t sufficient evidence to determine the others knew the snacks had been pilfered.


Video from May 26, 2015 raid on Sky High Holistic: