UPDATE: Unsealed indictment details charges against San Jacinto City Councilmember, other man

UPDATED: Saturday, June 19, 9:45 a.m.

Originally Published: Sunday, June 13, 3:13 p.m. (See Original Story)

SAN JACINTO, Calif. — The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office yesterday released information about the arrest of a San Jacinto City councilmember, a story which was initially covered exclusively by RCNS last Sunday, after word of the councilmember’s arrest emerged.

San Jacinto City Councilmember Joel De Anda Lopez, 35, was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation being jointly conducted by the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station and Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. He was arrested on June 10th at his San Jacinto residence on Avenida Rosa Mundi, and was released within hours of his arrest after posting $100,000 bail.

Lopez’ co-conspirator, Edward Padilla, Jr., 32, of Santa Ana, was named in the unsealed indictment and online jail records indicate he remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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In the Riverside County criminal grand jury indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, June 18, officials laid out the charges against Lopez and Padilla, which stem from four counts involving the operation of an illegal cannabis dispensary in San Jacinto, where Lopez continues to hold a seat as City Councilmember.

San Jacinto City Councilmember Joel De Anda Lopez, 35, and his co-conspirator, 32-year-old, Edward Padilla, of Santa Ana, were named in an indictment which was unsealed yesterday, June 18. They both face two felony and two misdemeanor charges related to the illegal operation of an unlicensed marijuana dispensary in San Jacinto, where Lopez continues to hold a seat on the City Council.

The unlicensed and illegal dispensary, which went alternately by the names “Santa Fe Co-Op,” “Santa Fe Collective”, or simply “Santa Fe”, operated out of a location at 1190 S. San Jacinto Avenue.

The unsealed indictment went on to explain that Lopez and Padilla have each been charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance for sale, one felony count of maintaining a place for the purpose of unlawfully selling or giving away a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of operating without a seller’s permit by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, and one misdemeanor count of failure to file a sales and use tax return.

SEE ORIGINAL RELATED STORY: BREAKING: San Jacinto City Councilmember arrested, booked on multiple charges

Among the overt acts alleged in the indictment are:

  • That both defendants hired individuals to work for an unlicensed illegal cannabis dispensary.
  • That both defendants placed cannabis and/or THC products for sale in display cases inside their San Jacinto dispensary.
  • That both defendants, and others, sold cannabis and/or THC products from that same address to members of the public.
  • That both defendants sold cannabis and/or THC products to the public through a delivery service.
  • That Lopez received the proceeds from the illegal sale of cannabis.

Padilla, who was arrested at his Santa Ana home on June 15, was already seen in court on his charges and his arraignment has been continued until next Tuesday, June 22.

Lopez remains out of custody on bail and is scheduled to be arraigned in October.

The case against the two men is being prosecuted by Deputy DAs Lauren Dossey and Francisco Navarro of the DA’s Public Protection Unit.

Contacted for more information about Lopez’ arrest, a City representative recently told RCNS they had no comment about his arrest or the charges against him.



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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