Attorney Roger Jon Diamond has said the city is out to get his client, G3 Holistic President Aaron Sandusky, for continuing to fight Upland over medical marijuana issues in court.
Sandusky and five employees of G3 Holistic, which also had dispensaries in Colton and Moreno Valley, pleaded not guilty Monday to drug trafficking charges in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. They were arrested June 14.
"The action of last week was strictly on the federal government's own accord," Dunn said. "We didn't reach out to them. We didn't do anything with them."
Diamond said he believed the indictment was retaliation for the dispensary winning an eviction case on May 24 against its Upland landlord in West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga.
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency forced the dispensary's landlord, Magna & Magna, to file the lawsuit and "much to everyone's shock we won the eviction case," Diamond said.
The court victory allowed the dispensary to continue operating in the 1700 block of West Foothill Boulevard.
Upland's interim City Attorney Jimmy Gutierrez said he read Diamond's remarks but did not know if there was any truth to them.
"I think it's easy to point the finger at someone else," Gutierrez said.
The state Supreme Court in January said it would hear G3 Holistic's challenge against Upland's zoning ordinance that bans medical marijuana dispensaries, but even that case hasn't escaped the feds influence, Diamond said.
DEA agents raided G3 on Nov. 1 so Upland could win the state "case by using the federal government to shut down G3 Holistic and moot the case.
"I think it's blatant discrimination.
"What is the policy of the federal government? We can't figure out if the local feds are acting on their own or getting direction from somebody."
Dunn says that somebody is not the city.
"While we did ask for their help in the past, the action of last week had nothing to do with Upland," Dunn said.
"We've been battling them in court. Obviously, we are now, probably just like G3, waiting for the California Supreme Court to take on the issue, but we haven't done anything other than sit and wait."
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, also strongly denied Diamond's claims.
"I categorically deny the assertions made by counsel," Mrozek said. "There was no undue pressure exerted by local authorities in the case."
Dunn said the feds have contacted Upland police officers for assistance in the past related to issues concerning G3.
"You don't want to have people issuing search warrants without the local authorities knowing," Dunn said.
"It's standard procedure, but it's not that Upland was in on the planning of what was going on by any means."
Sandusky and his brother, Keith, 44, who was in charge of day-to-day operations at G3, continue to remain in custody until a transcript from court proceedings Friday in Riverside is made available to a federal judge in Los Angeles.
California voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996 to decriminalize the use of medical marijuana in the state. Senate Bill 420, which was signed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, details the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes and prevents cities and counties from banning marijuana dispensaries.
The use of medical marijuana still is illegal under federal law.
Other defendants in the case are G3 co-founder John Leslie Nuckolls II, 31, of Rialto, as well as Ontario warehouse workers Paul Neumann Brownbridge, 29, of Upland; Richard Irwin Kirchnavy, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga and Brandon Anton Gustafson, 30, of Yucaipa.