Police arrested six men in Elmhurst for possession of over 3,000 pounds of marijuana earlier this week, the Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown announced on Monday.
At approximately 1:25 a.m., on Monday, according to Brown, members of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New york Drug Enforcement Task Force discovered the six Asian males transferring cardboard containers with the marijuana from a tractor trailer to two smaller vehicles at Good Fortune Supermarket.
“The defendants are accused of removing cartons of marijuana stacked six-feet high from a tractor trailer across the street from the Good Fortune Supermarket in Elmhurst when confronted by law enforcement,” said Brown. “The defendants, who hail from California, Canada and Brooklyn, made a mistake by stopping in Queens County to distribute their illegal wares. They now face serious drug charges.”
According to the criminal complaint, the officers approached the scene – at 50-22 Ireland St., between 51st Avenue and Queens Boulevard – and observed the men removing the boxes from an 18- wheel semi-tractor trailer into a smaller U-Haul truck and a cargo van. When the officers approached, they were overwhelmed by the odor of raw marijuana emanating from the boxes.
In addition to seizing the marijuana, it is alleged that the defendants also possessed between $200,000 and $300,000 in U.S. currency.
“The seizure and arrests surprised us just as much as it surprised the defendants when arrested.” said DEA Special Agent James Hunt, who was in charge of the bust. “However, it shows that law enforcement agents and officers possess the keen ability to spot the things that don’t belong. In this case, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force spotted and seized over $3.5 million dollars worth of marijuana that was destined to be trafficked throughout New York City.”
Subsequent to their arrest, the six men were identified as: Weiyang Yao, 47, of Cucamonga, California; Yuejiang Zeng, 53, of San Gabriel, California; Shan Wu Zhang, 30, of British Columbia, Canada; and Duanzhao Zhang, 38, Tong Shun Zhang, 29, and Tong Zhew Zhang, 24, all from Brooklyn.
If convicted of the first degree criminal possession of marijuana charges they face, each defendant faces up to five-and-a-half years in prison.
“I commend the work of the Drug Enforcement Task Force for intercepting this large amount of illegal drugs before it could be distributed onto the streets of New York City,” said New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton. “The NYPD is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the quality of life for all of our communities.”