2015-10-14 / Front Page

Feds Smoke Out Massive Pot Cache, Nab Six In Elmhurst

By Liz Goff
A crew of six marijuana dealers busted with more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana valued at more than $3.3 million, are facing more than five years behind bars, law enforcement officials said.

Federal Drug Enforcement agents nabbed the dealers on October 5, as they were moving the pot from an 18-wheeler to a U-Haul truck and a smaller cargo van parked on a street in Elmhurst, authorities said.

The agents assigned to a DEA New York Drug Enforcement Task Force spotted the drug dealers unloading their illegal cargo from the tractor-trailer at about 1:25 a.m. on October 6, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

When the agents approached the 18-wheeler, parked across the street from the Good Fortune Supermarket at 50-20 Ireland Avenue in Elmhurst, they were “overwhelmed by a strong odor of marijuana emanating” from the trailer and from boxes that were being moved to the other vehicles, Brown said.

The agents spotted seven large pallets with cartons stacked at least 6-feet high in the tractor-trailer, Brown said. Authorities said the cartons held an estimated 3,000 pounds of marijuana packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic bags.

Brown identified the crew members as Duanzhao Zhang, 38, Tong Shun Zhang, 29 and Tong Zhew Zhang, 24, of Brooklyn and Wewang Yao, 47 and Yuejiang Zeng, 55, of California and Shun Wu Zhang, 25, of Canada.

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,” Brown said.

“The defendants, who hail from Brooklyn, California and Canada made a mistake by stopping in Queens County to distribute their illegal wares,” Brown said. “They now face serious drug charges.”

The federal agents also seized between $200,000 and $30,000 in cash that had been stacked and bundled inside the three vehicles, authorities said.

“The seizure and arrests surprised us just as much as it surprised the defendants when they were arrested,” said James J. Hunt, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division. “In this case, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force spotted and seized over $3.5 million worth of marijuana that was destined to be trafficked throughout New York City,” Hunt said.

The six defendants were charged with criminal possession of marijuana and related charges at their arraignments at Queens Criminal Court.

Each defendant could face more than five years in prison, if convicted.

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