LONG ISLAND, NY – Two men have been busted after taking part in a conspiracy to bring potent, high-grade strains of California-grown marijuana to Long Island for resale.
The man identified as the ringleader, Brian Poole, 27 of Bellport is being held on one million dollars bail after appearing in front of a judge today in Riverhead. Accompanying Poole was his chief re-seller, Eric Gomez, 29 of Calverton.
Brian Poole, 27, of Bellport, was arraigned in a Suffolk courtroom in Riverhead on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, on charges of conspiracy, criminal possession of marijuana and weapons charges. His attorney denied the charges. Photo by James Carbone.
According to the District Attorney Thomas J. Spota’s office, Poole is a prior violent felony offender who owns homes in Bellport and Bay Shore which were used as locations to prep the west coast marijuana for sale to dealers and users in Suffolk County.
A long term investigation by Nassau County detectives concludes that Poole was the architect of a one million dollar marijuana scheme where hundreds of pounds of 11 different strains of California marijuana was sent though the United Stats Postal Service to houses in Suffolk county.
“During the court of this joint investigation, Poole arranged the monthly delivery of approximately 80 pounds of California marijuana to Suffolk County. His profits averaged from $500 to $800 per pound, depending on the strain of marijuana he chose to import to sell here, “District Attorney Thomas J. Spota said.
Hundreds of pounds of 11 different strains of California marijuana, the strains marketed with the names “Girl Scout Cookies”, “Chem Dawg,” “OG Kush,” “Death Star,” Jedi,” “Grand Daddy Purples,” Hash Train,” “Jack the Ripper,” “Cheese,” and “Green Crack,” were exhibited at a Press Conference in Riverhead today, July 1, 2015. Photo: Andrew Cohen
The thirteen month-long investigation led by the Suffolk Police Department’s Chief Detectives William Madigan and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Lau of the Office of Homeland Security reveals that Poole trafficked 960 pounds of high grade marijuana with a wholesale value of $2.2 million dollars.
Magian Rodriguez, 25, Poole’s west coast co-defendant met with pot farmers in California to make bulk purchases of exotic strands of pot on customer’s requests.
“Over the course of the investigation we learned that the most popular strains sought after by pot dealers and buyers in Suffolk County were the exotic strains named “Girl Scout Cookies”, “OG Kush”, and Grand Daddy Purple, ” said Spota.
They had a very clever way of transporting massive amounts of marijuana. They’d first place the marijuana in heated concealed plastic bags then soak the bags in bleach and Lysol. They had the bags securely wrapped up in Bounce drier sheets in an attempt to diminish the potent smell while passing through the postal service. Spota said their process “worked really really well.”
District Attorney Thomas J. Spota provides press with the details of how Poole was able to traffic hundreds of thousands of dollars and an excess amount of Marijuana across the country. Mug shots of the convicted suspects including the ring leader Brian Poole are pictured above. Photo: Andrew Cohen
Investigators “followed the money” by tracking Poole’s pot payments to his California connections, usually by cash withdraws by pot growers accessing bank accounts in New York under Poole’s Control. “Poole also used female couriers to fly cash to California,” District Attorney Spota said.
Rodriguez would go to multiple post offices up and down the California Coast to avoid detection by using the same post office. When the boxes were delivered to Suffolk County, they would be sent to special people that Poole trusted and paid $300 dollars each time they received a delivery to help in this operation. These individuals would have boxes delivered to their houses, then they would let the box sit outside for a half hour in case police stopped by. Then, they would take the package inside and write “return to sender” on the outside of the box to claim that the packages were sent to the wrong address and was not theirs to trick the police if they came by. Once the coast was clear these people would take the boxes to Poole’s house to be resold on Long Island.
The gold necklace pictured above was worn on multiple accounts by Brian Poole. District Attorney Spota said that the necklace cost over $30,000 dollars and was purchased with the money he received from his marijuana scheme. Photo: Andrew Cohen
District Attorney Spota understood that the United States Postal Service did not know what was going on and they were only doing their jobs. The USPS will not be accused of participating in this marijuana ring.
A child’s backpack, which Spota claimed was Pools daughter’s, had tens of thousands of dollars in it when it was discovered inside the back seat of a Camaro which was leased and late on payments. Evidence recovered from this sting also included a defaced, loaded handgun and an electronic stun gun in the trunk of Gomez’s Camaro.
A license plate from a BMW specifically used for drug sales which read “LIFTED” (which is slang for getting high) had a caption that said “Keep Kids Drug Free.” This specific license plate was chosen by the alleged drug dealer, Eric Gomez.
Poole’s lawyer Robert Macedonio claims that he had no knowledge of the large amount of cash inside his daughter’s backpack and does not believe he should be considered a ringleader because he only distributed “1.9 pounds of marijuana.” Contradicting Macedonio’s argument, Nassau County Detectives discovered that Poole was transporting over 80 pounds of pot monthly from California to Suffolk County.
According to the DA, the license plate above was specially ordered by drug dealer Gomez to use on his BMW which was used to participate in drug deals in Suffolk County. “LIFTED” is slang for getting high. Photo: Andrew Cohen
Both Poole and his co-defendant Eric Gomez of Calverton pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy and criminal possession at their arraignments today, July 1 before Country Court Judge Stephen Braslow.
“These arrests dismantle a multi-state drug trafficking organization whose final destination for drugs were the streets of Suffolk County,” said Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent in charge of Homeland Security in New York.
Brian Poole’s lawyer Robert Macedonio claims that Poole was only responsible for 1.9 pounds of the 2.2 million dollars worth of marijuana Poole is charged with transporting and that he was unaware of any other charges, specifically related to the backpack and other allegations. D.A. Spota goes in depth about the License plate which was recovered in this year long investigation. Video: Andrew Cohen
In total, there was over $200,000 dollars in cash seized by law enforcement as well as one dozen defendants who participated have been indicted for their roles in Poole’s operation.
Poole is being charged with Criminal Possession of Marijuana 1st and 2nd degree and Criminal Possession of a weapon in the 2nd and 3rd degree. He is being held on a one million dollar bail. His accomplice Eric Gomez is being charged with Conspiracy in the 4th degree, Criminal Possession of marijuana in the 2nd degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled substance in the 3rd, 4th and 7th degree.
A representative for the District Attorney’s office said that the marijuana seized from the operation will be crushed and disposed of while the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash will be used to assist detectives in further investigations.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.