A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy and two alleged cohorts were scheduled to make their first court appearances Friday afternoon after they were arrested Thursday on federal drug distribution charges, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The DOJ alleges the suspects 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.
LASD Deputy Marc Antrim, 41, of South El Monte, who is assigned to the LASD station in Temple City; Eric Rodriguez, a.k.a. “Rooster,” 32, of Adelanto; and Kevin McBride, 43, of Glendora, were all arrested Thursday morning without incident.
“Deputy Antrim allegedly was able to use his law enforcement expertise and his access to Sheriff’s Department gear to stage a robbery that netted over a million dollars in marijuana and cash,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.
“We cannot tolerate this type of behavior from sworn officers, and this case demonstrates our commitment to quickly address corrupt behavior by law enforcement,” Hanna said. “The rapid response by the Sheriff’s Department, and the collaborative work with their federal colleagues in the DEA, FBI and ATF, is a perfect example of law enforcement joining together to ensure the integrity of the criminal justice system.”
“Today’s arrests send a clear message that law enforcement will not tolerate criminal activity committed by those entrusted to uphold the law and protect the public,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge David J. Downing. “Drug traffickers will be held accountable, regardless of their standing in the community.”
“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,” he said.
“This is an example of local and federal law enforcement partners collaborating to make our community a safer place for all,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge of Los Angeles Field Division Bill McMullan.
“Law-enforcement personnel are held to a higher standard as they are chosen to protect our communities,” he said. “It is always disheartening when an individual thinks he is above the law because he wears a badge. It won’t be tolerated in any form.”
“Our Department has a great working relationship with our federal partners in protecting the public and maintaining trust,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell. “This case serves as an example of the thorough processes in place and our commitment to holding anyone who violates the law accountable.”
According to two criminal complaints filed in this case, 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.
The Ford Explorer’s license plate shows it was an LASD-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 LASD patches on the sleeve.
All 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 LASD 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 LASD jackets.
Antrim then falsely told the LAPD officers that he was an LASD narcotics deputy conducting a legitimate search, court documents said. To facilitate the sham, Antrim allegedly handed his phone to one of the LAPD officers so that the officer could speak to someone on the phone claiming to be Antrim’s LASD sergeant.
According to court documents, the individual on the phone was not Antrim’s sergeant, and Antrim did not have a legitimate search warrant for the warehouse.
After LAPD officers left the warehouse about 20 minutes later, 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 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.
As set forth in the complaint naming McBride, which was filed this morning, 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.
A review of Sheriff’s Department records and interviews with LASD personnel indicated no evidence of any legitimate search warrant of the warehouse being executed on October 29.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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. LASD’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau provided substantial assistance to the federal investigation.
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.