Pubdate: Fri, 29 Apr 2016
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2016 The Trentonian
Author: Penny Ray


TRENTON - Prosecutors say complaints from the community regarding 
constant foot traffic in and out of Ed Forchion's businesses sparked 
a two-month investigation that resulted in his property being raided 
Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors also say they received information from multiple sources 
that Forchion, a pot legalization activist known as NJ Weedman, was 
distributing marijuana from out of the premises.

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force raided Forchion's businesses, 
which includes a restaurant, religious sanctuary and tobacco shop, on 
East State Street and allegedly seized more than $19,000 in marijuana.

During the raid, 11 people, including Forchion, were arrested for 
various offenses. Some were apprehended in connection with 
outstanding warrants, and others were charged with new drug offenses.

When police searched the building, they allegedly found 56 grams of 
marijuana and 32 grams of edible marijuana candy in the sanctuary, 
more than a pound of marijuana butter in the kitchen, as well as ten 
grams of marijuana and a large amount of drug paraphernalia in the 
tobacco shop.

Police also seized $85 that was in a jar that read, "Nothing is free donate."

Prosecutors say police also found 1,055 grams of marijuana, five 
grams of hashish, five ounces of promethazine, digital scales and 
drug packaging materials in an office, where they also found $60 in 
cash, which was seized.

Police allegedly found an additional 28 grams of marijuana in the 
rear yard of the property.

Prosecutors say Shawn Hurley was arrested after police saw him toss a 
deck of heroin off of the roof when the raid began, and that Tomas 
Geronimo was arrested for distributing marijuana during the course of 
the investigation.

Police also seized a Toyota Matrix and two other vehicles that were 
parked outside of the premises during the raid, along with $330 that 
Forchion had on his person.

Prosecutors say police also raided a South Olden Avenue home in 
Hamilton in connection to the investigation and found seven grams of 
marijuana in the garage and additional drug paraphernalia throughout 
the residence. The homeowner, 52-year-old Sharon Shelton, was 
arrested when she arrived home during the search.

Police say the estimated street value of the seized drugs is $19,270.

Forchion, 51, is charged with several drug possession and 
distribution offenses; his bail was set at $50,000 cash or bond.

Geronimo, 27, is charged with marijuana possession and distribution. 
Hurley, 45, is charged with heroin possession.

Shelton is charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, Nhuygel Green, 52, Gregory Peterson, 20, Philippe Dume, 
28, Alfonso Clark, 35, Brian Jones, 46, Roderick McKinney, 39, and 
Timothy Williams, 27, were all arrested in connection with 
outstanding warrants.

The raid was not the first time local authorities enforced the law at 
NJWeedman's Joint. On March 5, police shut down the Joint around 2:10 
a.m, for violation of city code. During that incident, more than a 
dozen Trenton police officers arrived at Liberty Bell Temple III 
asking the congregants inside the sanctuary to vacate the premises. 
Forchion later said the incident violated his First Amendment rights.

Forchion is a freelance columnist for The Trentonian.
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