The on a downtown Mill Valley store and the arrest of its owner Wednesday came on the heels of a two-month, multi-agency investigation and yielded 15 to 20 pounds of suspected drugs, two loaded guns and more than $29,000 in cash, according to a state narcotics agent.
Dave McDonald, a 70-year-old Fairfax resident whose at 74 Throckmorton Ave. had been a quirky fixture in downtown Mill Valley for nearly 50 years, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of selling controlled substances, possession of controlled substances for sale, possession of ephedrine (a precursor to methamphetamine) with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of suspected drugs while armed with a loaded gun. McDonald remains in custody on $50,000 bail with an arraignment set for Friday afternoon.
“During the course of the investigation, it was determined (that) McDonald was selling/distributing methamphetamine as well as a substance called ephedrine,” said Tim Jung, a special agent with the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, in a statement.
Jung explained that ephedrine is used in clandestine methamphetamine laboratories as the main ingredient to be converted into amphetamine/methamphetamine.
Jung is the commander of the West Contra Costa Narcotic Enforcement Team (West-NET), a multi-agency narcotic task force that includes officers from seven East Bay agencies and managed by the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.
Jung oversaw the raid of the Pleasure Principle shop Wednesday at around 3 p.m., as downtown Mill Valley business owners dealt with the that had many of them outside as the raid happened.
Jung said agents served search warrants at the store and McDonald's home but did not say whether the alleged drugs, guns and money were found at McDonald’s business or home in Fairfax.
Evan Woolf-Wetmore, who owns , the clothing, jewelry and shoe store adjacent to and in the same building as McDonald’s shop, said she had no idea what was going on when McDonald was arrested.
“I was totally shocked,” Woolf-Wetmore said.
Woolf-Wetmore said she was completely surprised by the allegations against McDonald, having been his neighboring business for more than a decade.
“I’m really surprised,” she said. “He couldn’t even pay his rent.”
The arrest comes on the heels of McDonald’s efforts to keep his business afloat despite dwindling revenue and an eviction notice effective March 31 from his landlord, Steve McNamara.
McNamara could not be reached for comment.
Pleasure Principle has been at its current location since 1966, when McDonald operated a jewelry-centric store with his father, starting in 1963 on East Blithedale Avenue. It evolved into a novelty shop laden with knickknacks in the early 1970s.