SANTA ANA – Three Santa Ana police officers charged with petty theft in connection with a pot shop raid that was recorded on video pleaded not guilty Monday.
Brandon Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo are each charged with one misdemeanor count of petty theft. Sontag is also charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism under $400, prosecutors said.
The trio on Monday pleaded not guilty and are due back in court July 25 for a pretrial hearing, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
If convicted, Arroyo and Quijas both face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, while Sontag faces one year and six months in jail and a $2,000 fine, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
On May 26, 2015, the three, along with other Santa Ana officers, were serving a search warrant at Sky High Holistic on 17th Street in Santa Ana. Video surveillance caught the officers allegedly stealing protein bars and cookies from the shop’s break room and sharing the goodies with other officers, prosecutors said.
Sontag is accused of disabling surveillance cameras by smashing camera lenses.
“Before leaving the premises at the conclusion of the search warrant, Quijas and Arroyo are accused of taking extra cookies with them,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.