On May 26th of 2015, Santa Ana police officers conducted a raid on Sky High Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary that was allegedly operating without the correct permits. During the raid, three officers (Matthew Sontag, 31, Nicole Lynn Quijas, 37, and Jorge Arroyo, 32) conducted themselves far below any professional standard. The officers were placed on paid leave and now, 10 months later, they are being charged with petty theft while Sontag is being charged with misdemeanor vandalism.
How Not to Raid a Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Raiding officers dismantled 16 surveillance cameras during the search at the Sky High Holistic dispensary but there was a 4-camera hidden system that recorded everything that happened that night. On this camera footage, a variety of disturbing things was documented. The officers, after making all the employees and customers get on the ground, made aggressive comments about Marla James, a legally blind 54-year-old wheelchair-confined amputee who volunteered at the medical marijuana dispensary.
One of the male officers in the video asks the female officer, Nicole Lynn Quijas, “Did you punch that one-legged old bonita?” to which Nicole Lynn Quijas, laughingly replies “I was about to kick her in her fucking nub.” Matthew Sontag is seen on the hidden video footage smashing cameras into the corner of a display case and cash register.
Moving on From Threats of Violence to Theft
The officers are seen stealing and eating snacks and joking about feeling light-headed while playing a game of darts that belonged to the medical marijuana dispensary. This is possibly the most controversial aspect of the video, as many question what exactly the officers are eating.
It appears they are deliberately consuming marijuana-laced edibles but the DA of Orange County insists that, after reviewing the footage and investigating the case for the last 10 months, the officers are believed to be eating Detour protein bars and Mrs. Thinster’s Cookies. These were some of the snacks available for employees of the dispensary. According to the Orange County Register, the DA has not said whether the officers were tested for marijuana.
Getting Off Light
The attorney for Sky High Holistic, Matthew Pappas, said to KABC-TV that he definitely believes that the officers were eating marijuana edibles. The officers are seen passing the snacks around in the video and putting some in their pocket on the way out the door. The DA’s office has stated that they can’t find any evidence of this, so the officers will be charged with petty theft. These charges could lead to a $1,000.00 fine each and up to 6 months incarceration. The misdemeanor vandalism could lead to an 18 month jail sentence and a $2,000.00 fine.
The video of the officers has gone viral over the past 10 months, with many referring to the 3 officers as the “Sky High Cops”. Many have anticipated charges being placed on these unprofessional officers and the attorney for Sky High Holistic said that the charges were a positive step to show that officials are willing to hold delinquent officers accountable for their behavior and criminal activities. Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo will be arraigned on April 11th.