56-Year-Old Led Drug Empire, Prosecutors Say

San Clemente's John Melvin "Pops" Walker is accused of making millions off nine illegal pot shops in Orange County and Long Beach, and hiding the earnings from the government.

Did a San Clemente man cover up millions of dollars in profits from nine illegal pot shops around Orange County and Long Beach?

Federal prosecutors say John Melvin "Pops" Walker, 56, illegally operated a for-profit pot shop near a Dana Point Montessori school, owned an assault rifle and other weapons, and ordered employees to shred business records.

His trial is set for Dec. 18.

On Friday, authorities arrested a dozen people in connection with Walker's alleged pot empire. And a recently unsealed federal indictment says Walker owned, staffed and shared in the profits of nine marijuana dispensaries.

Walker did not report any income from the dispensaries to the federal government, prosecutors said.

Among the accusations and revelations in the indictment:

  • Perry "Bucky" Forehand, 33, helped Walker open and maintain a Dana Point dispensary a few hundred feet from a Montessori School. In 2009, it generated $2.4 million. In April 2010, the shop sold pot to undercover officers and was raided. It was shut down a year later.
  • On Nov. 8, 2011, Walker was caught with a .22 Beretta pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, a 5.56-caliber assault rifle and $390,000 cash, authorities said.
  • Walker instructed his bookkeeper, A. Tax Services, to destroy all records pertaining to income generated from marijuana soon after sales were made. He also told the bookkeeper to avoid creating any records "fully documenting Walker's connections" to the sale of marijuana, according to prosecutors.

  • In 1979, Walker was convicted of transporting/selling cocaine. In 1992, he was convicted of possessing marijuana or hash for sale.

If federal prosecutors win the case, Walker could forfeit any property bought with money collected at the dispensaries.


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