Eight days before he was set to be evicted, Dave McDonald, the owner of one of the oldest businesses in downtown Mill Valley, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of selling methamphetamine at the store, law enforcement officials said.
At around 3 p.m. Wednesday, a team of federal, county and city authorities raided the , McDonald’s novelty gift, jewelry and adult paraphernalia boutique at 74 Throckmorton Ave., and arrested him without incident, according to Mill Valley Police Detective Paul Wrapp.
McDonald, a 70-year-old resident of Fairfax whose business has been located in downtown for 45 years, was taken into custody after agents from the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team and the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force served a warrant at the shop.
McDonald is suspected of selling methamphetamine and selling a chemical precursor used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, according Tim Jung, a special agent with the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. McDonald was also arrested on suspicion of being in possession of methamphetamine while armed with a loaded firearm, a felony.
Jung said no other parties were arrested in the matter and declined to comment further about the investigation. McDonald is being held on $50,000 bail and is scheduled for an arraignment Thursday at 1:30 in Marin Superior Court.
The raid caused quite a stir downtown Wednesday, as many shop owners lingered outside their businesses because of the power outage that struck Mill Valley.
Evan Woolf-Wetmore, who owns The Store, 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.
Woolf-Wetmore said a team of agents in helmets with shields out and weapons drawn stormed the store before realizing that McDonald was the only person inside the cluttered, 600-square-foot space.
“I was totally shocked,” Woolf-Wetmore said.
Agents taped off the area around the shop and searched the Pleasure Principle for several hours after the arrest, she 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.