East Coasters awaiting their next shipment of Sonoma County marijuana will be disappointed to learn about a drug-trafficking bust in Santa Rosa.
A dozen people have been arrested — including a San Francisco man — and more are being hunted in connection with an operation that has been sending Sonoma County weed to New York and Boston, police announced this week.
The whopping bud bust by Santa Rosa police has led to the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and 39 pounds of pot that were allegedly destined for the East Coast and elsewhere in California.
On March 21, detectives investigating the operation pulled over a rental car and found more than $150,000 in what they called drug money on Mohammed Jaber, 28, of Staten Island, N.Y., and passenger Lisa Tam, 31, of Waltham, Mass.
Detectives then raided the Sebastopol motel where the pair had been staying, police said, leading to the seizure of a pound of marijuana “packaged for sale” and the arrest of Sterling Ramsey, 35, of Willits, who also allegedly possessed drug money.
Around the same time, police said, detectives stopped a second vehicle and found 7 more pounds of marijuana believed to be connected to the operation and about $25,000 in cash. Driver Ian Stalberg, 31, of Sebastopol was detained, along with Adam Thomas, 27, of Santa Rosa.
More arrests came March 29, police said, when SWAT teams executed search warrants on suspected growing operations in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.
About 30 pounds of marijuana and more heaps of cash were seized, police said, along with evidence that the pot was being shipped to the East Coast.
Santa Rosa residents Molley Robey, 21; Ashley Williams, 26; Edward Wight, 43; Collette Wight, 40; and Louis Frankel, 35, were apprehended. Isaiah Dawid, 24, of Scotts Valley and Randall Vance, 27, of San Francisco also were arrested. They were detained while driving away from one of the grow houses that was being raided, police said. They reportedly had about $90,000 in cash.
Police said more suspects are being sought, but might have fled California.