Hollywood drug ring shipped hundreds of pounds of cocaine to Baltimore, authorities say
A Hollywood-based drug trafficking ring that used chartered planes to ship hundreds of pounds of cocaine and millions of dollars between Los Angeles and Baltimore was broken up as a federal grand jury indicted 14 people on trafficking and money laundering charges, authorities said Tuesday.
In one six-week stretch during the seven-month investigation, dubbed Operation Snow Bird, authorities said the alleged drug dealers shipped out 390 kilograms of cocaine and over $4 million in cash.
Investigators said they were able to intercept and seize approximately 298 kilograms of cocaine and $1.1 million in cash.
Members of the ring would fly the cocaine to Baltimore, oversee the sales of the drugs on the streets of Baltimore and then fly suitcases of drug profits back to Los Angeles, authorities said.
Five of the 14 people indicted are in custody; the rest are being sought.
The alleged leader of the group was identified as Ricky James Brascom, a Woodland Hills resident and the 28-year chief executive of Behind da Scenes Entertainment. His brother, Jerome Mondale Brascom, 30, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was also indicted, accused of assisting in the distribution and storage of the drugs in Baltimore.
Two others taken into custody, Steven Velazquez, 31, of San Fernando and Alberto Cruzado, 57, of Sylmar, allegedly worked as a couriers. And a fifth person, Leonardo Concepcion, 50, of Downey, allegedly worked as a pilot to fly the drugs and cash between Los Angeles and Baltimore.
Among those still being sought by authorities is Darrin Ebron, identified as a 43-year-old DJ and clothing designer from Washington, D.C., who allegedly served as a distributor.
Among the charges against the group are conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to launder money and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office said.
The investigation was carried out by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Ventura County Combined Agency Team, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Air & Marine Operations Center.
-- Stephen Ceasar