NJ Weedman arrested with 10 others as cops seize $19K of marijuana from his business
TRENTON — Perhaps not surprisingly, a business run by a guy who calls himself "Weedman" was found full of weed, authorities say.
The high-profile raid Wednesday of the well-known marijuana activist's restaurant resulted in the arrest of 11 people, including NJ Weedman himself, and the seizure of about $19,000 in marijuana, officials said Thursday.
The raid Wednesday afternoon brought numerous heavily armed cops and SWAT team members to Ed Forchion's Joint, an eatery with an attached marijuana temple located across the street from City Hall. Police did not block off the street, allowing passersby to take photos and watch from just yards away.
Police said they found marijuana and all sorts of edibles in nearly every part of the establishment, including the backyard.
Forchion, 51, was being held in lieu of $50,000 cash or bond bail on the following charges:
- Six counts of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance
- Three counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance
- Three counts possession with the intent to distribute
- Two counts of possession with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school
- Possession with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park
- Fortified premises
- Two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia
- Maintaining a narcotics nuisance.
Forchion could not be reached for comment Thursday and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney.
Police last month closed down the Joint for several days citing city ordinances barring certain business from operating late at night. Forchion responded by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming the city was violating his religious freedom. That lawsuit is pending.
Acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri said Thursday that the raid Wednesday was in response to "complaints from the community... about the constant foot traffic in and out of the establishment at all hours."
Onofri said officials also had "received information from multiple sources that Forchion was distributing marijuana from the premises.
Police said inside the sanctuary they found 56 grams of marijuana , 32 grams of edible marijuana candy and $85 in a jar that read, “Nothing is free donate.”
They also found a pound of marijuana butter in the kitchen; 10 grams of marijuana and a large amount of drug paraphernalia in a shop area; 1,055 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of hashish, 5 ounces of promethazine, scales, $60 in cash and packaging materials in the office; and 28 grams of marijuana in the backyard.
Among those arrested, Shawn Hurley, 45, was charged with heroin possession after police say they saw him throw a deck of heroin off the roof.
Officials say Tomas Geronimo, 27, had been dealing marijuana during the investigation and was arrested outside the business during the raid. He was charged with three counts of marijuana distribution, one count of marijuana possession and an outstanding Trenton warrant.
Nhuygel Green, 52; Gregory Peterson, 20; Philippe Dume, 28; Alfonso Clark, 35; Brian Jones, 46; Roderick McKinney, 39; and Timothy Williams, 27, all from Trenton, were arrested and each charged with outstanding warrants.
Onofri's office only released an arrest photo of Forchion.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.