CENTRAL FLORIDA - Channel 9 has learned members of the Central Florida Jamaican Cannabis Drug Trafficking Organization were arrested on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, trafficking in cannabis and money laundering.
Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation officials said the investigation revealed the organization was smuggling thousands of pounds of cannabis from Mexico into the United States, and then to central Florida, using several methods.
Agents said Mark Reed is one of the leaders of the ring, but he was booked under the name Terrance Turbe.
"His prints were run and ICE helped us out identifying him and we found out his real name -- or at least we think it's his real name -- is Reed," said Larry Zweig with MBI.
Agents said the organization used several stash houses in the Pine Hills area to store the cannabis before it could be divided and sold. They also used several warehouses in west Orlando to take delivery of shipments of cannabis and to use as bases of operation for distribution, authorities said.
"These methods included delivery through the United State postal packages, private package delivery services, freight shipping services, private vehicles, including recreational vehicles," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
During the course of its investigation, MBI officials said they have seized more than 3,212 pounds of cannabis, more than $200,000 in cash, 10 firearms and six vehicles.
More arrests and seizures are anticipated as the investigation progresses, investigators said.
Channel 9's Renee Stoll was at a warehouse Thursday night when investigators found drugs, guns, money and illegal gambling. About 30 people were handcuffed as officers went through the warehouse, which looked like a glass and screen repair shop on the outside.
"The whole organization is a danger because when you're selling drugs, you're dealing with cash and where there's drugs and cash, there's violence," said MBI's Larry Zwieg.
In July, MBI agents seized 3,000 pounds of marijuana from a recreational vehicle, which helped them crack more details in the case, officials said.
This organization is so big that authorities said there were plans for two of the members to use $20 million in suspected drug money to put into businesses in their home country of Trindad and Tobago.
Reed, along with his girlfriend Charmaine Roman, are two of 50 people arrested in the ring.
Cannabis was brought into the U.S. from Mexico, either by mail, freight, car or RV.
Reed and Roman were at the top of the totem pole laundering millions of dollars through the organization, police said.
Authorities said they first became aware of the violent organization in 2006. Since that time, hundreds of pounds of cannabis have been interdicted or seized from individuals associated with the organization, officials said.
Violent crimes such as homicide, attempted homicide, home invasion robbery, armed robbery, armed narcotics trafficking and firearms violations have been linked to many of the members of the organization, officials said.
Eyewitness News couldn't get into the luxury Dr. Phillips community they lived in.
Officials said Reed was banned from entering the United States 12 years ago after a judge signed a deportation order.
"(Reed) either left and came back, or he never left," Ron Woody with ICE said.
MBI requests that anyone with additional information related to the Drug Trafficking Organization please contact MBI at 407-836-9701 or Crimeline at 407-423-TIPS.