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Ex-Football Player Involved in Cannabis Dispensary Holdup Enters Guilty Plea

A former UCLA football player who joined another man in attempting to rob a Jurupa Valley marijuana dispensary, during which an employee was shot, pleaded guilty Monday to being an accessory to a felony and was immediately sentenced to 80 days in jail and three years probation.

Craig Anthony Lee, 24, of Los Angeles admitted the charge under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, and in exchange for his admission, prosecutors dropped two related felony counts.

Superior Court Judge David Gunn certified the terms of the plea deal and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.

In March, Lee’s co-defendant, 24-year-old John Carlton Ross, admitted an attempted murder charge under a plea deal with prosecutors. He was sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

However, as part of the agreement, the sentence was suspended by Gunn, who instead sent Ross to jail for 277 days and imposed a 36-month term of probation.

The defendants were involved in a botched holdup at the Kings Palace Cannabis Dispensary in the 6100 block of Mission Boulevard.

Lee, a reserve running back for UCLA from 2013 to 2015 after being the nation’s 26th-best high school running back in 2012 according to ESPN and when he played at Redlands High School, was arrested along with Ross last July following a three-year sheriff’s investigation.

Lee, Ross and another man, who was not identified, went into the marijuana shop on the afternoon of June 30, 2016, and attempted to forcibly take an undisclosed quantity of product, according to detectives.

During the robbery, one of the operators of the unlicensed dispensary was shot, though not by Lee. Investigators said a security guard returned fire, and the defendants fled the business, eluding deputies, who converged on the location moments later.

The gunshot victim, whose name was not released, was hospitalized and recovered.

During the ensuing investigation, detectives ultimately sufficient evidence to identify two of the three perpetrators.

Lee had no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.

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Published: July 13, 2020

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