S. Sandoval / SFVS

The small, ominous building next to Tommy’s Burgers in San Fernando is now empty.

Last Friday, April 27, San Fernando police raided the building where an illegal marijuana dispensary operating without a business license had set up shop on N. Maclay Avenue. 

There were only two employees inside the building at the time of the raid. Police arrested Devyne Desiree Castillo, 23, and Rafael Jonathan Saldana, 19.  

Castillo was arrested for illegal possession of marijuana. Saldana, who was working as a security guard, was arrested for possession of a loaded weapon without a permit.

Police said Saldana is underage. You must be 21 to own and possess a loaded weapon. Two customers were also apprehended and handcuffed during the bust, but police said they weren’t arrested, they were detained and released.  

San Fernando Police Chief Anthony Vairo said they confiscated 50 pounds of marijuana that included cookies as edible products, and one thousand dollars in cash.  Following the bust, police slapped a red notice on the front door.

The business, “Wonderland 20 Cap,” solicited customers online, enticing them with a “free joint” for following them on Instagram and listed locations in various areas throughout Los Angeles county.    

The shop, two doors down from the library, went largely unnoticed with dark windows, no signage or even a street address on the storefront.   

There wasn’t a handle on their door. Customers had to be buzzed in through an electronic door and cameras were positioned at the entrance of the front door.  

Customers used their cellphones to call those inside to be allowed in.

According to city officials, prior to the raid code enforcement had previously informed the business that it had to shut down but it continued to operate. 

Following the passage of Proposition 64 in 2016, it’s legal in the state of California to grow, transport, buy and sell marijuana. But the San Fernando City Council voted for an ordinance that prevents marijuana businesses to operate in the city.

The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol asked if the owner of the building could face charges if she knowingly rented or leased to an illegal business. Vairo said an investigation is underway,   

“Our detective is both investigating who the owner of the marijuana business is, and is also in the process of talking to Martha Casillas the owner of the building,” Vario said. 

“They have been selling marijuana illegally in San Fernando without a business license. We are sending a message today that you can’t set up shop illegally in our city.”