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Multi-racial group formed for robbery planned by a serving police officer.

FCRO Subsection: 
Editorial Staff

Marc Antrim, 43, of South El Monte, and others walked into a marijuana warehouse in Los Angeles and walked out with half a ton of weed and USD600,000 in cash. Then they distributed the drugs. Antrim was a police officer and one of his co-accused was an employee of the warehouse.

Antrim dressed himself and three others in police uniforms complete with insignia, "duty belts" and weapons including so-called "long-guns". He used a Los Angeles County Sheriff's department vehicle, a Ford Explorer Sports Utility Vehicle, to drive himself and two others up to the warehouse. He told the security guards that they were being detained while a search was conducted and locked them in the "cage" in the back of the car.

An accomplice arrived, backed the van up to the warehouse and over a period of two hours loaded it with drugs and money.

It was brazen: when offices from the Los Angeles Police Department (which is different to the Sheriff's Department) Antrim produced a fake search warrant and his genuine badge. Antrim told them that he was a deputy in the Narcotics division of the Sheriff's department and that he was conducting a legitimate search and seizure. He handed his mobile phone to an officer and suggested they speak to his sergeant : a call was made but not to a serving police sergeant.

They left whereupon a further lorry arrived and more drugs were loaded together with two safes containing cash.

In fact, Antrim was a "patrol deputy." He was not on duty at the time and was not a detective nor assigned to the narcotics unit.

In March 2019, Antrim pleaded guilty to a five counts: conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to deprive rights under colour of law, deprivation of rights under colour of law, and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

"under colour of law" is a magically quaint term that has survived in the USA having been lost almost everywhere else. It means the abuse of authority granted by a government agency. It is not the same as impersonating a police officer. "Deprivation of rights under colour of law" is, in effect, kidnapping by a government official who is purporting to act with authority that he does not in fact have.

Antrim has been sentenced this week to seven years in jail.

While Antrim planned and co-ordinated the robbery (it was a robbery not a burglary because of the threat of force, albeit implied, by the presence of guns) he was able to do so because of the assistance of Christopher Myung Kim, 31. Kim had been an employee and was unhappy with his former employers. Antrim gave evidence against Kim, which the Judge took into account.

Kim was jailed for 14 years for his part in planning the raid and "making off with" marijuana worth USD1.5 million.

The US Department of Justice says "Kevin McBride, 45, of Glendora, and Eric Rodriguez, 35, of Adelanto, are serving federal prison sentences of six and nine years, respectively, after pleading guilty to felony charges in this case. In a related case, Antrim’s other conspirators, Matthew James Perez, 44, of Ontario, Daniel Aguilera, 33, of Los Angeles, and Jay Colby Sanford, 43, of Pomona, are serving sentences of six years’ imprisonment, two years’ imprisonment, and five years’ probation, respectively."

The case is interesting for two more reasons. First, no one has been charged with money laundering and it is not clear whether the cash was recovered. Secondly, the various people come from several different districts and the names reveal a remarkable mix of backgrounds: Korean, Irish and Hispanic indicating that this was not an established gang but a team formed for the specific purpose. That implies (and we can put it no stronger than that) that Antrim used information available to him in his job to identify and recruit people who did not have established loyalty to each other.

Sandford's involvement may have been influenced by the fact that he was being sued for Child Support by the Department of Child Support services on behalf of his (former?) wife and just days after the robbery was due to appear in court on a pre-trial hearing relating to contempt of court. That, we assume, means that he had been ordered to make payments, failed to do so, and was threatened with jail in default.

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