Almost 300 lbs. of marijuana are now off the streets in what authorities say could be the largest drug bust in Richmond's history. Friday, authorities announced the arrest of three men they say are responsible for transporting pot across state lines and into the city.
This started with a minor drug charge after a girl with a blunt was stopped near Virginia Commonwealth University. It snowballed into a bust that would land police with huge duffle bags of pot and more than $600,000 in cash from the drug trade.
According to authorities, the three men tried to make Richmond their very own drug marketplace. Jeremy Harrington, Andrew Massengill and Eduardo Fabelo are facing charges of transporting marijuana from California into the Commonwealth. They could spend the next forty years in prison.
"The marijuana market, the marijuana trade is still alive and kicking," said Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring.
Police arrested the girl with the pot cigarette in the 800 block of West Grace Street back in 2004. From there they tried to work their way up the drug distribution food chain.
The commonwealth's attorney and VCU Police credit one man with taking down the drug ring. Assistant Chief Chris Preuss talked to dozens of people to find who the source of the supply was.
"We had a lot of historical information on shipments that had come to Richmond and we worked on getting ahead of the next shipment," Preuss said.
Authorities already had a search warrant in hand when they came to the 2600 block of Park Avenue on May 4th. They were staking out an 8' by 8' storage container when they say Eduardo Fabelo came and unlocked the unit.
They allege inside were duffle bags filled with high-grade pot, which weighed a total of 267 lbs. Law enforcement agree the trade extends beyond the boundaries of VCU.
"If you are trafficking drugs in the City of Richmond, on, near, around or anything to do with VCU, we're going to investigate that case with our regional partners and you're going to be arrested," explained Chief John Venuti.
The containers were often shipped cross-country by truck, but the shipping companies are not facing any charges. Prosecutors say they were unaware of what was inside.
There is also a conspiracy element to this case and more arrests and charges are possible.
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