Photo courtesy of WESH-TV
ORLANDO, Fla. - Several Orlando law enforcement agencies announced the arrest of 36 people on several charges, including racketeering and trafficking in marijuana.
Officials said they were made aware of a violent Jamaican drug-trafficking organization in 2006, and since then they have seized hundreds of pounds of cannabis from people associated with the organization.
Investigators said they also have linked violent crimes, such as homicide, attempted homicide, home invasion robbery, armed robbery, armed drug trafficking and firearms violations to the group.
In September 2011, the Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation began targeting the organization and revealed that it was responsible for smuggling thousands of pounds of marijuana from Mexico into the United States and then to central Florida, according to a release.
Authorities said the group used the U.S. mail, private package delivery services, freight shipping services and private vehicles to transport the drug.
According to a news release, several homes in Pine Hills were used as "stash" houses to hold the drug before it was sold. Several warehouses were also used in the operation for drug purposes.
Leaders of the organization were identified as Wayne St. Clair Reid, Charmaine Roman and Mark Reed, investigators said.
Officials said other high-ranking members of the trafficking organization who were charged include Howard Abrahams, Wayne D. Reid, Linus Walker and Michael Reid Davis.
More than 3,200 pounds of marijuana, $200,000 in cash, 10 firearms and six vehicles were seized in the operation, dubbed Operation Warehouse 13, authorities said.