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Federal Agents Raid Oaksterdam, Other Medical Marijuana Businesses

OAKLAND (KCBS) - Agents from three federal law enforcement departments on Monday raided Oaksterdam, the medical marijuana university in downtown Oakland, as well as other marijuana industry businesses in Oakland.

The raid at Oaksterdam was launched at about 7:00 a.m. Monday. Numerous armed officers could be seen milling around the immediate area while yellow police tape cordoned off the building.

A number of pro-marijuana protesters were seen at the site following word of the raid. At least one protester appeared to be under arrest.


IRS spokeswoman Arlette Lee confirmed that other locations were being raided as well but declined to say where. It appeared two of the locations were on 15th Street between Franklin Street and Broadway.

As of about 10:30 a.m., DEA agents could be seen entering two businesses on that block -- a gift shop associated with Oaksterdam University and Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative.

KCBS' Tim Ryan Reports:

"We are conducting a search warrant. Right now everything is under seal, it's an ongoing investigation and so there is not a whole lot that we can share," said Lee. "It's IRS Criminal Investigation, DEA as well as the U.S. Marshals."

She declined to confirm whether any arrests had been made - or were likely to happen during the course of the raids.

Steph Scherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, which promotes the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, said there was also a raid at Oaksterdam University's president, Richard Lee's home on Lakeshore Drive Monday morning.

Dale Sky Jones, executive chancellor of Oaksterdam University, confirmed that federal agents had shown up at Lee's apartment Monday morning.

Jones said Lee was awakened by armed agents, who arrived at his home sometime before 8 a.m. She said Lee had been detained and questioned but not arrested.

She said Lee is associated with both businesses on 15th Street that were raided.

Oaksterdam University opened in November 2007 and bills itself as "America's first cannabis college."


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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