Deputy, two oth­ers charged af­ter pot heist

Marc Antrim and his team stole drugs and cash-filled safes dur­ing a bo­gus ware­house search, au­thor­i­ties say.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Joel Ru­bin and Maya Lau

The Los An­ge­les sher­iff ’s deputy pulled up to the pot filled ware­house just af­ter three in the morn­ing.

He held up an of­fi­cial look­ing doc­u­ment to a guard, who promptly un­locked a gate. The deputy and two other men, each of them armed and dressed in sher­iff ’s jack­ets, got out.

Af­ter lock­ing the guard and two other em­ploy­ees in the back of the deputy’s SUV, the men went to work lug­ging bags of mar­i­juana from the ware­house.

But far from an of­fi­cial raid, the deputy and his as­so­ci­ates were car­ry­ing out a brazen heist, fed­eral au­thor­i­ties said Fri­day.

Deputy Marc Antrim and his team, which in­cluded more men who ar­rived with a mov­ing truck, are ac­cused of steal­ing hun­dreds of pounds of mar­i­juana and safes filled with cash from the ware­house, which served as a dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter for a le­gal mar­i­juana op­er­a­tion.

Antrim, a pa­trol deputy in the sher­iff ’s Tem­ple City sta­tion, and two other men were ar­rested Thurs­day on fed­eral drug charges.

Dur­ing searches of Antrim’s house and an­other man’s home, agents found sev­eral weapons, am­mu­ni­tion and about $350,000 in bun­dled cash, court records show.

The men were sched­uled to ap­pear in a fed­eral court­room in down­town Los An­ge­les on Fri­day.

“Deputy Antrim al­legedly was able to use his law en­force­ment ex­per­tise and his ac­cess to Sher­iff’s Depart­ment gear to stage a rob­bery that net­ted over a mil­lion dol­lars in mar­i­juana and cash,” U.S. Atty. Nick Hanna said in a state­ment. “We can­not tol­er­ate this type of be­hav­ior from sworn of­fi­cers, and this case demon­strates our com­mit­ment to quickly ad­dress cor­rupt be­hav­ior by law en­force­ment.”

At the time of the rob­bery late last month, Antrim was not on duty and was not as­signed to a nar­cotics unit that would have given him a rea­son to search a mar­i­juana dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house in the city of Los An­ge­les, ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed in the case.

Antrim, 41, of South El Monte, and the oth­ers al­legedly car­ried out the rob­bery early Oct. 29, ac­cord­ing to af­fi­davits writ­ten by an of­fi­cer

from the Drug En­force­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion to ob­tain search and ar­rest war­rants. Much of the af­fi­davits are based on footage from dozens of se­cu­rity cam­eras at the ware­house that cap­tured the event.

One of the cam­eras recorded the deputy pulling up to the ware­house on Com­mer­cial Street near down­town Los An­ge­les in an un­marked sher­iff’s SUV that Antrim al­legedly took from the Tem­ple City sta­tion, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davits.

Along with the hol­stered hand­guns, all three men car­ried equip­ment belts typ­i­cally used by po­lice, and one man car­ried a larger weapon that ap­peared on the cam­eras to be a ri­fle or shot­gun, an af­fi­davit said.

Min­utes later, a rental truck pulled up and the men be­gan load­ing boxes and bags filled with mar­i­juana that had been pack­aged for ship­ment. In all, they took 600 pounds of the drug, au­thor­i­ties said.

Un­be­knownst to the men, some­one had called the Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment, which po­lices the area where the ware­house is lo­cated, ac­cord­ing to one of the af­fi­davits.

About 3:45 a.m., sev­eral LAPD of­fi­cers ar­rived. As the other men fled out the back of the ware­house, shed­ding their gear and jack­ets, Antrim ap­proached the of­fi­cers, ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity cam­era record­ings and footage from one LAPD of­fi­cer’s body cam­era de­scribed in the af­fi­davits.

Telling the of­fi­cers he was a Sher­iff ’s Depart­ment nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tor, Antrim made a call on his phone and said it was to his su­per­vi­sor. A man on the other end of the line told an LAPD of­fi­cer that Antrim was con­duct­ing a le­git­i­mate search, and the of­fi­cers soon left, the af­fi­davits said.

Antrim went back to load­ing the mov­ing truck and soon was joined by sev­eral men who ar­rived in a white pickup and on foot. Au­thor­i­ties sus­pect some of the men were the ones who fled ear­lier.

Along with the mar­i­juana, the men car­ried two safes filled with about $100,000 in cash to the mov­ing truck and left.

The scam quickly fell apart.

A few days af­ter the rob­bery, an at­tor­ney for the mar­i­juana busi­ness con­tacted the Sher­iff ’s Depart­ment and handed over a copy of the se­cu­rity cam­era footage, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Sher­iff ’s of­fi­cials no­ti­fied fed­eral au­thor­i­ties and as­sisted them as agents from the DEA and other agen­cies be­gan to in­ves­ti­gate.

“We have sys­tems in place to root out mis­con­duct within the or­ga­ni­za­tion, as well as any depart­ment mem­ber who chooses to vi­o­late the law and pub­lic trust,” spokes­woman Nicole Nishida said in a state­ment.

Us­ing a track­ing de­vice in­stalled in the rented mov­ing truck, au­thor­i­ties fol­lowed its move­ments af­ter the al­leged heist to a house in Glen­dora. When agents searched the house Thurs­day they found about two pounds of mar­i­juana, a loaded Beretta hand­gun reg­is­tered to Antrim, am­mu­ni­tion that is is­sued to law en­force­ment of­fi­cers and a flash­light with Antrim’s name on it, court records show. They also re­cov­ered $150,000 to $200,000 in cash.

The man liv­ing at the house, Kevin McBride, 43, was ar­rested and is charged with be­ing one of the men on Antrim’s team.

A search of the house Antrim rents turned up a sim­i­lar amount of cash and a cache of four firearms, which in­cluded a dou­ble-bar­rel shot­gun and a “sub­ma­chine gun-style firearm,” one of the af­fi­davits said.

The third man ar­rested and charged is Eric Ro­driguez, 32, of Ade­lanto, who au­thor­i­ties al­lege was also at the ware­house. All three men are in cus­tody and charged with con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute con­trolled sub­stances.

Au­thor­i­ties said they were still try­ing to iden­tify the other men in­volved.

The failed con job is the sec­ond time this year a Los An­ge­les County sher­iff’s deputy has been ar­rested on drug charges.

In Jan­uary, Deputy Ken­neth Collins and three other men were ar­rested by FBI agents and charged with op­er­at­ing a large-scale drug traf­fick­ing scheme. Ac­cord­ing to court records, Collins boasted that he had hired other law en­force­ment of­fi­cers to pro­vide se­cu­rity to drug deal­ers and could as­sault peo­ple for his clients.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.