Three Santa Ana police officers who were charged with misdeeds during a search warrant operation at a marijuana dispensary entered no contest pleas to misdemeanor charges.
Jorge Arroyo, 34, and Nicole Lynn Quijas, 39, pleaded no contest Tuesday to petty theft involving snacks that were taken from a break room. Co- defendant Brandon Matthew Sontag, 33, pleaded no contest to one count each of petty theft and vandalism of security cameras.
A no-contest plea means the defendants do not admit the allegations against them, but have chosen to no longer contest them.
If Arroyo completes 40 hours of community service and pays $200 to the victim witness emergency fund, the case against him is expected to be dismissed.
Arroyo’s attorney, Robert Gazley, said his client “did not admit petty theft yesterday. What he did was plead that he would not be contesting these allegations.”
Quijas is also expected to do 40 hours of community service and make the same contribution, while Sontag is expected to perform 80 hours of community service, pay $200 to the fund and make “full restitution,” according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Arroyo and Quijas are scheduled to return to court on April 30, and Sontag on Oct. 31 of next year. All three remain on the job.
Quijas’ attorney, John Barnett, declined comment. Sontag’s attorney, Michael D. Schwartz, could not be immediately be reached.
The three served a search warrant with fellow officers about 5:50 p.m. on May 26, 2015, at the Sky High Holistic marijuana dispensary.
Sontag was accused of damaging five surveillance cameras, and Sontag and Quijas were each accused of taking a protein bar, according to prosecutors. Quijas and Arroyo were additionally accused of taking cookies.
The incident made headlines when surveillance video of the raid, showing officers ridiculing a woman who uses a wheelchair because her left leg was amputated, surfaced.
The dispensary sued, alleging that some officers “made discriminatory statements about plaintiff Marla James, who is a disabled individual protected by state and federal anti-discrimination laws.”
–City News Service