“This groups primary focus was trafficking narcotics for monetary gain,” said Lt. Paul Messier of the department’s Special Investigations Unit.
He says 42-year-old Anthony Le is the alleged ringleader, and was aided by his cohorts Barry Phan, Jose Garcia, and Alejandro Garcia. Investigators say the foursome were childhood friends who turned to a life of crime and selling drugs across the country.
A raid of a house at the Demascus Court residence on November 28 netted 800lbs of weed in vacuum sealed bags, Xanax tablets, and anabolic steroids. Police also recovered two hand guns, and a military-grade rocket launcher.
“We believe that item wasn’t going to be used for any nefarious activities. We believe it was just something that this person obtained in some way,” said Messier.
Detectives conducted a two-year investigation which revealed the gang would grow marijuana in California, then ground-ship boxes of that drug and others east. Distribution sites were set up in Queens, New York, Baltimore, Maryland, and Nashville, Tennessee. Proceeds were sent back to California.
“Marijuana can be worth 20-to-30 percent more on the East Coast. And it’s not legal in a lot of places in the United States. So they were able to kind of capitalize on that market,” said Messier.
All four men face charges for manufacturing and transporting narcotics, and possession of illegal weapons.
“I’m glad that they’ve been caught and that it seems to not be an issue so much anymore. Hopefully something like this doesn’t come up again,” said Dorsett.
Investigators said all four defendants are out of the county jail, posting bail amounts between $150,000 and-$250,000. But police say because of the size of this illegal operation, they believe there could be more arrests – both locally and nationally.