Ex-San Jacinto councilman Lopez admits marijuana, domestic violence allegations – Press-Enterprise

A man who was voted off the San Jacinto City Council by his colleagues this summer after being charged with illegally operating a marijuana dispensary and domestic violence pleaded guilty in those cases on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and was sentenced to a year in jail.

With credits, Joel Lopez, also known as Joel Lopezdeanda, will serve 241 days in custody, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Lopez, 36, made his pleas to the court, admitting to felony charges of conspiracy and maintaining an unlawful marijuana facility and misdemeanor charges of selling cannabis without a permit and failure to file a sales and use tax return with the state.

The DA’s office argued for a prison sentence for Lopez, an argument that was acknowledged by the judge.

On June 23, Lopez’s co-defendant, Edward Padilla, 33, pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 163 days in the county work-release program.

In the domestic violence case, Lopez pleaded guilty to felony counts of assault with a deadly (non-firearm) weapon, making criminal threats and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, as well as a misdemeanor count of that latter charge.

Lopez will serve the sentences for both cases at the same time.

He was charged with the marijuana crimes in June. The dispensary, located in the 1100 block of San Jacinto Ave., was known as “Santa Fe Co-Op,” “Santa Fe Collective” or “Santa Fe.” Lopez and others sold products illegally in display cases and a delivery service, according to the indictment.

Then on Aug. 5, Lopez was arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse.

Council members noted after the marijuana filing that Lopez was innocent until proven guilty, but they took swift action after the domestic violence arrest. They voted 4-0 on Aug. 17 to censure Lopez, thus removing him from the council, Deputy City Clerk Julie Espinoza said. Planning Commissioner Michael Heath was appointed by the council on Oct. 19 to replace Lopez.

Heath will fulfill the remainder of Lopez’s term, which expires in November 2022, Espinoza said.


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