Dispensary Owners Hire Informant to Assassinate Business Partner

San Diego cannabis businessman and associates busted in an attempt to order an assassination on their business partner.

By Cara Anderson

IG: @carajojo

Salam Razuki, owner and silent partner of cannabis operations worth over $44 million, was arrested by the FBI for conspiring to have his business partner Ninus Malan kidnapped and killed. Sylvia Gonzales and Elizabeth Juarez were also charged in association with Razuki. The three parties are facing two charges, conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim an individual as well as conspiracy to kidnap.

Salam Razuki and Ninus Malan have been business partners for years. The two own multiple cannabis companies in the San Diego area, including Balboa Ave Coop (AKA Treehouse Balboa) and Goldn Bloom (formerly known as Urbn Leaf.)

EDIT: “Neither Razuki nor Malan has ever been involved with Urbn Leaf,” according to an Urbn Leaf representative. “The Sunrise Street dispensary used the Urbn leaf brand under a Limited Licensing Agreement which ended in 2017. After the agreement ended, the dispensary name was switched to Goldn Bloom.”

Razuki and Malan are also owners of multiple liquor stores, including the Grove Market in Lemon Grove. The duo has attempted to obtain dispensary permits in La Mesa, San Diego, and Lemon Grove.

Despite raising and investing capital for legal cannabis operations in San Diego, Razuki has kept his name off of official filings for his cannabis businesses as to not be scrutinized by officials. In 2014, the San Diego City Attorney’s office took Razuki to court for operating illegal dispensaries on Market Street.

The paid-for-murder conspiracy charges are a disturbing insight to a ruthless side of the cannabis industry in California. However, the turmoil between Razuki and Malan has been ongoing.

This past summer, Razuki filed a lawsuit against Malan for control of their dispensaries. The disputes between the two, reportedly involving $44 million, continued over the summer and resulted in Malan filing a restraining order against Razuki in August. Malan alleged that Razuki and associates defaced a restaurant he owns and manages, stole his mail, and threatened him.

Starting in October, Salam Razuki and Sylvia Gonzales inquired to an individual about having Malan kidnapped and killed, not knowing that they were talking to an FBI informant. After meeting with the informant, they brought their associate with Elizabeth Juarez into the mix, deciding that Malan would be taken to Tijuana, Mexico, and killed. The trio used the nickname “the midget” to refer to Malan. They asked the informant to “shoot him in the face,” “take him to Mexico and have him whacked,” or killed in some other way.

Razuki, Gonzales, and Juarez offered the confidential informant $2,000 for the job, and met with the informant to pay the source a downpayment of $1,000 for the planned murder. During that meeting, surveillance agents observed Gonzales walking across the street to Goldn Bloom dispensary. The source says she returned with $1,000 cash for the informant, as well as a piece of paper with two of Malan’s business addresses, including a location that formerly housed Coastal Green Collective.

The manager of Goldn Bloom, David Farida, told Candid Chronicle that Gonzales was not provided money from the dispensary. According to Farida, Goldn Bloom provided the dispensary’s surveillance footage to authorities.

“When she [Gonzales] shops here, she shops as a customer,” David Farida, Manager of Goldn Bloom.

Press release from Goldn Bloom, issued on 11/28/18.

Peter Yousif from Goldn Bloom says the attention that Goldn Bloom is receiving, as a result of these conspiracy charges, is “creating hatred and racist comments.”

At the meeting, Razuki’s assistant Giovanna Contreras was also present; the criminal complaint states that she did not participate in the conversation and was wearing headphones for “most of the time.”

According to the DOJ’s release, Gonzales invited the informant to join her and Razuki in court so that they could see Malan in person. The source declined, saying they would stand outside of the Hall of Justice to see Malan. While inside the Hall of Justice, Gonzales texted a photo of Malan to the source and calling to describe what Malan was wearing. Gonzales reportedly left the building to meet with the informant, further describe Malan, and then returned to the Hall of Justice where she provided updates to the informant as Malan was leaving.

It was decided that the hit would take place before Thanksgiving; in the criminal complaint, agents wrote, “They wanted to ‘put the turkey up to roast before Thanksgiving.”

In meetings with the confidential source, Gonzales referred to herself as a “honey badger,” explaining that when her associates have problems, they send her after it. She also told the informant that she wanted to watch the murder, and wanted Malan to know it came from them.

“It’s no joke, Salam has a lot of money tied up right now, and he’s paying attorney fees. You need to get rid of this a–hole, he’s costing me too much money,” Sylvia Gonzales allegedly told the confidential source.

On November 16th, the informant contacted Razuki, telling him it was taken care of, and asking if Razuki wanted to see photos. Razuki declined, saying, “No, I’m okay with it. I don’t want to see it.” The informant asked for the rest of the agreed upon compensation, and Razuki directed him to follow up with Gonzales.

On November 16th, Razuki was arrested and agreed to speak with agents, saying he heard that Malan was missing, but thought it was a joke. Razuki denied involvement in any conspiracy to kidnap and kill Ninus Malan. Razuki’s detention hearing was set for 11/27/18; his preliminary hearing has been continued to 12/13/18 at the request of his attorney.

Gonzales denied any involvement in the conspiracy. Juarez stated that she thought the texts about the planned kill were a joke.


Read the full criminal complaint here.

Razuki’s attorney Thomas J. Warwick, Balboa Ave Cooperative, and Goldn Bloom were contacted for comment.

EDIT: Comments from David Farida and Peter Yousif of Goldn Bloom were added on 11/28/18 at 11:25 AM. Goldn Bloom’s press release added on 11/28/18 at 7:20 PM. Comments from Urbn Leaf were added on 11/28/18 at 8:06 PM.

Featured image via Goldn Bloom’s Facebook.