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El Dorado County investigates Tahoe Wellness Cooperative

Tribune staff report
Tahoe Wellness Cooperative was shut down for the day on Monday when El Dorado County Sheriff's Office launched a warrant investigation on the business.
Jack Barnwell/ Tahoe Daily Tribune |

El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies launched an investigation on the Tahoe Wellness Cooperative early Monday morning, forcing the business to close down for most of the day.

In addition to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, agents from the state’s Franchise Tax Agency, Board of Equalization and Department of Insurance were also present, according to Franchise Tax Agency spokeswoman Tami Grimes.

Grimes said it was a search warrant only and that its contents were sealed.

Cody Bass, executive director and founder of Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, said it was a bit of a surprise.

“Still, it’s pretty vindictive to do this,” Bass said of the county’s actions.

Bass said the county had served a warrant to search for marijuana and all types of financial records.

“They took all of the medicine that members in the community need,” Bass said.

Investigator Dave Stevenson of the El Dorado County District’s Attorney Office said, “at this time no charges have been filed, but we are working with the Attorney General’s Office to evaluate the reports and evidence as they are brought to us by the city, county and state agencies.”

Bass insisted it wasn’t a coincidence that El Dorado Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation a day before his planned call for action demonstration at the county Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Bass said he planned a call for action to raise awareness about the arrest of El Dorado sheriff’s deputy Mark Zlendick on drug possession charges. The cooperative is licensed by the city of South Lake Tahoe to sell medical marijuana and pays its taxes on a regular basis, according to Bass. In addition to warrants served at the cooperative, similar warrants were served at the property owner’s home and Bass’s home. Bass said he had some personal supplies there “but nothing excessive.”

Tahoe Daily Tribune Managing Editor Mandy Feder, contributed to this report.


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