The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York just announced charges against 50 suspects for their roles in a “massive” marijuana trafficking ring that has funneled “ton-quantities” of pot from Florida and California to New York since 1990.
Prosecutors say the investigation — codenamed “Operation Green Venom” — used more than 20 wiretaps “to infiltrate drug trafficking crews that controlled the importation and distribution of marijuana throughout the greater New York City area.” The government says that since July 2008, it’s seized almost $2 million in marijuana proceeds and more than 360 pounds of marijuana in connection to the investigation.
Law enforcement agents arrested 45 of the charged defendants earlier today and they are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later this afternoon. In his statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the arrests shut down “a major pipeline” for marijuana distribution in New York, and thanked his partners in the NYPD, DEA, and ICE for their work in the investigation.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s press release, government agents seized “over than $100,00 in cash, additional quantities of marijuana, three rifles, and a loaded handgun.”
Five of the suspects are still at-large.