A worker at a controversial Bay Ridge weed shop was indicted in Brooklyn Supreme Court after he allegedly assaulted a tax department criminal investigator who came to shut down the illegal store, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced Thursday.
Arjante Moss, 27, of Downtown Brooklyn faces charges of second-degree assault, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and second-degree harassment for the Dec. 18 incident in which he allegedly shut a door on the arm of a Finance Supervising Investigator working for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
According to the evidence laid out by the DA’s office, the investigator went to Big Chief, an unlicensed dispensary at the corner of 74th Street and Third Avenue, on Dec. 18 to shut down the store pursuant to a closure order obtained in Supreme Court by the Attorney General’s Office.
Prosecutors claim that when Moss realized a visitor to the store was a law enforcement agent, he allegedly pushed him out and closed the door on his arm. The investigator managed to pull his arm from the door frame but suffered extensive bruising. He was treated at New York University Langone Hospital and released.
“This defendant didn’t just defy the law by working in a shop that sold unlicensed cannabis products, but also allegedly violently attacked an investigator as he tried to lawfully shut down the illegal business,” said District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “ In Brooklyn, we have no tolerance for attacks on law enforcement personnel and will now seek to hold the defendant fully accountable.”
The smoke shop was hit with the court order last year for selling cannabis and related paraphernalia for months without a legal license and repeatedly ignored the Office of Cannabis Management’s and law enforcement’s request to stop.
In August, investigators confiscated 466 pounds of illicit weed while the OCM issued a violation notice, ordering the shop to stop unlicensed activity and posted warning notices for the public. Two months later, OCM inspectors returned to the Bay Ridge shop to find the warning documents they posted on the front windows covered and that the store was still selling cannabis. They seized an additional 200 pounds of cannabis products and issued another violation notice.
Following the Dec. 18 incident, agents permanently closed the store due to the ongoing non-compliance.
John Harford, deputy commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, thanked the DA’s office for pursuing charges against Moss in the case.
“Tax Department Criminal Investigators are engaged in vital work. Anyone who assaults them or otherwise interferes with their law enforcement duties should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Harford added in a statement.
If convicted, Moss faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted of the top count. He remains out on bail following indictment and is due to return to court on Mar. 20.
Lawyers representing Moss did not immediately respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.