Kareem “Biggs” Burke, one of the co-founding members of Roc-A-Fella Records, has been arrested alongside 44 other individuals involved in a wholesale marijuana ring based in New York, Florida and California.
According to The Associated Press, a federal prosecutor announced that Burke was caught via wiretap discussing “grow houses” with the ring’s leader.
Prosecutors allege that the drugs were being grown using hydroponics in Florida and California. They were later smuggled to New York and sold for street sales. The trafficking ring, which authorities have dubbed “Green Venom,” has reportedly been in existence for almost 20 years.
The bust came after an 18-month investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York Police Department. The city’s Department of Investigation and Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s office was also involved in the takedown, which resulted in the obtainment of nearly $2 million and more than 360 pounds of marijuana.
In addition to Burke, who is potentially facing life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, an employee of High Times magazine was also charged.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara spoke out on the bust, saying, “With today’s arrests, we have successfully shut down a major pipeline for marijuana distribution in New York City. This successful operation was the result of a dedicated and ongoing partnership among federal, state and local law enforcement and reaffirms our zero-tolerance policy for those who flout our drug laws.”