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L.A. County sheriff's deputy pleads guilty in brazen pot heist

L.A. County sheriff's deputy pleads guilty in brazen pot heist
L.A. County Sheriff's Deputy Marc Antrim pleaded guilty to robbing a legal marijuana warehouse. This image of Antrim is from a camera worn by a police officer who encountered the deputy during the heist, according to federal authorities.  (US Attorney's Office / US Attorney's Office)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who led a heist of more than a half ton of marijuana from a downtown warehouse pleaded guilty to federal charges Monday.

Marc Antrim, 41, admitted to his role in the scheme during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, who is scheduled to sentence the deputy on June 3. Antrim and several co-defendants briefly got away with over 1,200 pounds of marijuana and two large safes filled with more than $600,000 in cash during the fake drug raid.

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In January, Antrim signed a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to drug, weapons and other charges. In exchange, prosecutors said they would suggest the judge show some leniency for the South El Monte man when she decides on a punishment.

During a second hearing Monday, co-defendant Eric Rodriguez pleaded guilty to, among other crimes, being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A third defendant, Kevin McBride, has agreed to plead guilty at a future hearing.

Last month, FBI agents arrested three additional men accused of participating in the robbery: Matthew James Perez, 42, of Ontario, Daniel Aguilera, 31, of East Los Angeles, and Jay Colby “Monte Jay” Sanford, 41, of Pomona.

In the early-morning hours on Oct. 29, Antrim took a department SUV from the Temple City sheriff’s station where he worked as a patrol deputy. He was off duty at the time and picked up McBride and Perez, according to an affidavit filed in the case by an FBI agent.

Dressed in sheriff’s jackets and brandishing weapons, the men drove to a warehouse near downtown Los Angeles that housed a legal marijuana distribution business. At the security gate, Antrim showed a guard a bogus search warrant he had concocted and then locked the guard and two other employees in the back of the SUV, court records show.

Aguilera arrived in a rental truck, according to the affidavit, and the men began carrying out marijuana that had been packaged for shipment. Sanford is accused of serving as a lookout.

When officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, which patrols the warehouse location, arrived around 3:45 a.m., all the men fled except Antrim, who told the officers he was serving a search warrant at the warehouse. He put one of the LAPD officers on the phone with a man who he claimed was his supervisor. The LAPD officers soon left, according to court records.

McBride, Rodriguez and a man who remains unnamed in court records returned and the men went back to robbing the warehouse.

A few days later, an attorney for the marijuana business contacted the Sheriff’s Department and handed over footage of the robbery captured by several security cameras, court documents show.

A GPS device on the rented moving truck led authorities to McBride’s house in Glendora, where they found two pounds of marijuana, a loaded Beretta handgun registered to Antrim, ammunition that is issued to law enforcement officers and a flashlight with Antrim’s name on it, court records show. They also recovered $150,000 to $200,000 in cash.

A search of the house Antrim rents turned up a similar amount of cash and a cache of four firearms, which included a double-barrel shotgun and a “submachine gun-style firearm,” court records said.

Antrim was relieved of duty without pay after his arrest.

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