A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy and two alleged cohorts were arrested Thursday on federal drug distribution charges that allege they stole 600 pounds of marijuana and $100,000 in cash during an armed robbery at a downtown Los Angeles warehouse by falsely portraying themselves as law enforcement officers executing a search warrant.
Deputy Marc Antrim, 41; Eric Rodriguez, a.k.a. “Rooster,” 32; and Kevin McBride, 43, were all arrested Thursday morning without incident.
Security camera footage shows Antrim, McBride and another unnamed co-conspirator approaching the warehouse during the early morning hours of Oct. 29, driving an unmarked Ford Explorer, according to a criminal complaint. The Ford Explorer’s license plate shows it was a sheriff’s department registered vehicle assigned to the Temple Station, where Antrim worked.
Antrim and his co-conspirators allegedly gained access to the warehouse by purporting to be deputies executing a lawful search. All three men allegedly were dressed as deputies, Antrim in a green vest that said “Sheriff” and McBride and the other cohort in green jackets with LA Sheriff’s Department patches on the sleeve.
All three men were wearing duty belts often worn by law enforcement officials, each had a holstered handgun, and one man appeared to be holding a long gun, according to court documents. Antrim allegedly showed a security guard a piece of paper inside a folder, which investigators believe was a document purporting to be a search warrant for the warehouse.
At the beginning of the two-hour robbery, Antrim, McBride and the third man allegedly detained three warehouse employees, including two security guards, in the backseat of the sheriff department Ford Explorer. Soon after the guards and the employee were detained, a fourth man arrived at the warehouse in a large rental truck, and all four men began loading what appeared to be marijuana into the truck.
When Los Angeles Police Department officers legitimately responded to a call for service at the warehouse during the robbery, Antrim’s three co-conspirators allegedly fled the warehouse through a back door and two of them discarded their sheriff’s department jackets. Antrim then falsely told the LA police officers that he was an LA Sheriff’s Department narcotics deputy conducting a legitimate search, court documents said.
To facilitate the sham, Antrim allegedly handed his phone to one of the police officers so that the officer could speak to someone on the phone claiming to be Antrim’s sergeant. The individual on the phone was not Antrim’s sergeant, and Antrim did not have a legitimate search warrant for the warehouse, according to court documents.
After the police officers left the warehouse, McBride and another co-conspirator allegedly returned to the scene and continued the robbery with Antrim. Rodriguez allegedly showed up at the warehouse in his pickup truck, and all four men loaded more marijuana and two safes into the rental truck.
Several days later, an attorney representing the marijuana distribution warehouse contacted the LA Sheriff’s Department about the robbery.
At the time of the robbery, Antrim was a patrol deputy assigned to the Temple City station, but he was not on duty, was not assigned to the department’s narcotics unit, was not a detective and would not have had a legitimate reason to search a marijuana distribution warehouse in the City of Los Angeles, according to the complaint.
The rental truck went to McBride’s house after the robbery. During searches conducted Thursday in conjunction with the arrests, federal investigators recovered a total of approximately $300,000 to $400,000 from Antrim’s and McBride’s residences. Federal agents also seized about two pounds of marijuana packaged for commercial sale from McBride’s residence, as well as firearms from both men.
Antrim, McBride and Rodriguez are charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. If convicted of this offense, each would face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. LA Sheriff Department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau provided substantial assistance to the federal investigation.
“The alleged actions by the defendants detail an egregious level of corruption that posed a safety risk to victims and fellow police officers,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI and our partners will continue to root out corruption which undermines the law enforcement mission and stains the reputation of those committed to serve and protect.”
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lindsey Greer Dotson of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, and Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.