How the Great California Dispensary Heist Went Horrifically Wrong

One of the most outrageous crime sagas of the 21st century starts with a severed penis...and only gets stranger from there.

In the cold, predawn darkness of the Mojave Desert, the blood was pouring out. A man — his hands and feet bound tight with zip ties, his eyes blindfolded and his mouth taped shut — had just been held down by three unseen figures. They’d burned, beaten, stomped and tased him. Then they placed another zip tie around the base of his genitals and cut off his penis.

As quickly as it had all happened, he was left lying in the dirt 100 miles north of Los Angeles, surrounded by Joshua trees and desert brush, with the thrum of a distant highway drifting through the emptiness. He could barely move and was losing blood fast. His thoughts were simple: Am I going to die or am I going to live? ...