Jeremiah said, “I was just getting up from grabbing some marijuana out of the little bin…. I heard a big, loud bang. I felt the bullet whiz past my ear.
“I turned around in shock, and that’s when I seen the gun in my face. It was Phillip with a gun in my face.” Jeremiah survived the near miss. “You know, at first I was shocked because I didn’t, you know — first time this has ever happened to me, and never had a gun in my face like that, and I was shocked.
“You know, I didn’t think anybody — I didn’t think people were like that, you know?”
Jeremiah and Phil had been smoking pot for more than an hour. But that wasn’t what made Phil miss the point-blank shot; he told Jeremiah it was something else.
“Yes, when he shot at me, he said I was lucky that his hand was messed up; otherwise, I would have got it.” Earlier, Jeremiah had noticed Phil’s prominent scars on his hand.
Setting Up a Good Friend
This terrible moment had been set up two days before by Jeremiah’s good friend Nick.
Nick and Jeremiah have known each other for more than ten years. Nick had been over to Jeremiah’s house “hundreds” of times.
Almost three years ago, on a Monday afternoon in April, Nick was in downtown San Diego to see Dr. Shon Sidransky. He wanted to get a County of San Diego medical-marijuana license.
A few steps from the doctor’s clinic at 3045 Rosecrans Street was a medical-marijuana dispensary. “I mean, it’s literally the next office,” Nick later recalled. “You know, I was just looking to see what kind of medication they had.” After a peek inside the dispensary, Nick went out to the sidewalk and met someone there.
The man introduced himself as Phil. “Just Phil.” Twenty-five-year-old Phil said he was from Kansas City. He was wearing a red Kansas City cap. Phil said he was staying at a nearby hotel. Nick and Phil chatted for maybe 15 minutes. “We walked a little bit down the sidewalk.”
Nick remembered: “It was brought up that Phil had gone to the dispensary prior to me entering and was telling me that their prices were kind of expensive.”
Nick noticed tattoos on the man’s forearms and a wide scar on one hand and wrist. And Phil was wearing flashy jewelry. “Like, a big cross necklace and kind of a big diamond earring. I’m not sure which ear.”
Nick told Phil that he might be able to help him with what he was looking for. “If [Phil] was a valid patient, then I’d be able to be his caregiver, and just dispense to him.” Nick said he had “valid documentation” that entitled him to “distribute” medical marijuana if Phil had a valid card.
“And then,” said Nick, “he kind of pulled out a large amount of money, so I knew he was serious. He just reached into his front pocket and pulled it out.” Cash. “Mostly hundreds. It looked like at least probably three to four thousand, just from my estimate.”
Nick said again that he didn’t “sell” marijuana, he only “dispensed” it. He got Phil’s contact information. “We exchanged numbers.”
And then Nick contacted his friend Jeremiah. “I was leaving to go out of town, so I spoke with my friend Jeremiah and let him know that I had met somebody and that they were in the market for something. [I] kind of explained the scenario and gave him Phil’s number.”
The Best of the Best
Jeremiah said he was smoking pot when his pal Nick phoned him. “Yes. I only smoke Kush. I only smoke top-quality Kush or Sour Diesel or purple. Just the best of the best.” Jeremiah said he takes this medicine every day. “It relaxes me more than anything. I have a bad back, and I get migraine headaches. It helps me eat.” It’s not that Jeremiah thinks he’s too thin. “I’m fat, myself. Heavyset.”
Jeremiah has been a marijuana smoker most of his life. “Since I was a kid. Maybe 15 years old.” In April 2010, when he was introduced to Phil, Jeremiah was 32 years old.
It was a pleasant, cool day in San Diego County. The rain came and went, which made the fronds on the palm trees behind Jeremiah’s house shiny. “I have a palm-tree forest in my backyard.” Jeremiah lives in a 672-square-foot home that was built in 1947 in a rural part of Vista. “I live in the country,” said Jeremiah. “I’m pretty bored.”
The boredom ended when Phil came to Jeremiah’s tiny home on Buena Vista Drive.
Eleven-Thousand Dollars’ Worth of Pot
Jeremiah said his pal Nick had contacted him about supplying three pounds of “high-grade Kush, purple — you know, good marijuana.” Jeremiah testified about this dope deal almost a year later, in San Diego Superior Court. The prosecutor asked who was supposed to receive this high-grade marijuana.
“A gentleman by the name of Phil,” said Jeremiah. “I told Nick that he could have the gentleman contact me, and, you know, we would go from there.” Phil phoned Jeremiah, and “We arranged to have a meeting, for [Phil] to come up and at least introduce each other, and meet each other.”
Phil first came to Jeremiah’s house on a Tuesday night, at about 10:00 p.m.; it was the day after Nick had met Phil on the sidewalk.
Phil stayed at Jeremiah’s home for about an hour. “Greeted him and smoked and hung out,” Jeremiah said. They sat in his living room and smoked “out of my bong.” It was a fancy bong. “It’s a brand name, called Roor.” An attorney wanted to know if that was special. “Yes. Glass on glass, imported from Germany.” Jeremiah said he’d paid $350 for his bong.
Jeremiah noticed his guest’s footwear. “He wore the same type of shoes I wear, the Air Force Ones.” He also noted Phil’s jewelry, his necklace. “It was a silver or white-gold chain.” With a glittery cross pendant. “The cross on the necklace had the diamond on it.”