Buds 4 Life raided again, owner arrested

FRESNO, Calif.

Action News broke the story of the dispensary trying to re-open in Tarpey Village. That storefront, and one in Friant, were both raided. The chief owner, /*Mark Bagdasarian*/, is under arrest.

Federal agents emptied the /*Buds 4 Life*/ dispensary in Friant Tuesday morning -- removing boxes of marijuana and marijuana products out of the storefront. They served a search warrant here and at the Tarpey Village location -- looking for evidence of drug dealing and tax cheating.

The search at /*Tarpey Village*/ turned up little evidence, but at Friant, it turned up several boxes -- including the marijuana, a lot of cash, and several weapons.

Agents also served a warrant at Bagdasarian's home in Clovis. They found money and marijuana inside. A police dog searched the home, and agents again removed several boxes worth of evidence. A short distance away, investigators arrested the chief owner of Buds 4 Life, Mark Bagdasarian. Agents say they found thousands of dollars and a marijuana pipe inside his car.

Bagdasarian was also targeted in a June first raid. Court documents show agents found more than $300,000 at his house and 100 pounds of processed marijuana at his two dispensaries. They compare Buds 4 Life to a black market drug cartel.

John Donnelly, DEA sad, "There's a lot of similarities between what this organization does and what any typical drug organization would do. For DEA, we don't see a distinction."

Both Bagdasarian and his son, Ryan, are under arrest. The owners of other dispensaries have pointed to Buds 4 Life as the worst example of how to run a collective. But Federal Agents say none of the collectives are safe, despite the state law legalizing medical marijuana.

"All the dispensaries are operating outside the federal law," said Donnelly. "We'll continue to focus on cases we believe are worthy of our time and attention. If the other dispensaries wish to roll the dice, that's their prerogative."

The Bagdasarians are charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. They're scheduled to make their first federal court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

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