Former pot dispensary owner arrested; councilwoman under investigation
Ryan Summerlin September 4, 2012
The owner of a now-closed South Lake Tahoe medical marijuana dispensary has been arrested on suspicion of bribing a public official and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Gennaro “Gino” DiMatteo in a Friday statement. In a separate statement from the city, City Councilwoman Angela Swanson is identified as being involved in the investigation.
DiMatteo operated the City of Angels 2 Collective before it closed in July following pressure from federal prosecutors and the City Council’s denial of a proposed relocation of the dispensary. DiMatteo and his wife, Irene DiMatteo, bought Push Fitness following the closure of the dispensary, according to an August statement from the gym.
Irene DiMatteo was also arrested Friday, according to county arrest records. She is being held in El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, possessing concentrated cannabis and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Gino DiMatteo remained in custody in El Dorado County Jail in Placerville Tuesday morning, according to county arrest records.
Search warrants were served at DiMatteo’s home, business and bank, according to the Friday’s statement. A request for additional details about the arrests from the District Attorney’s Office was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Investigation of the case is ongoing and charges had not been filed Tuesday.
During a Tuesday phone call, City Councilwoman Angela Swanson declined to comment on the arrest of DiMatteo and how she is involved in the district attorney’s investigation.
“Right now, I just don’t have anything to say other than my statement,” Swanson said.
In the statement, Swanson said she was surprised to hear she was involved in the investigation of the former dispensary owner.
“The revelation that I may be caught up some how in the investigation of Mr. DiMatteo came as a shock and an affront to me,” Swanson said. “I am proud of the reputation for honesty and integrity that I have established in both my private and public life. It is a privilege to be entrusted with the public’s faith in my integrity and ability as a public official. I have not done anything to intentionally betray that trust. I have cooperated in the district attorney’s investigation and I will continue to do everything I can to assist the investigation until the matter is concluded.”
Swanson said she will continue to serve on the City Council during the investigation, but “may temporarily step aside from some specific council assignments to ensure that activities vital to our community, which I have spearheaded, maintain their momentum.”
She said she will also recuse herself from all council items regarding DiMatteo, medical marijuana or the district attorney’s investigation.
The City Council held a closed session special meeting Tuesday morning that included discussion of anticipated litigation by Gino DiMatteo and City of Angels. The council did not take any reportable action during that portion of the meeting, City Clerk Susan Alessi said in an email.