A daring bust operation and some pot luck helped police in Queens and Long Island stop an illegal shipment of $650,000 in marijuana in Flushing this week, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Two California men — Doobie Kim, 40, and Yeong Woo Choi, 35 — faced a Queens Criminal Court judge on Thursday night for arraignment on charges of operating as a major trafficker, second- and fifth-degree conspiracy, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
“Trafficking in marijuana is still illegal in New York,” acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said; California legalized the recreational use of cannabis last year. “The two men charged in this case are alleged to have arrived at a designated meeting spot to pick up nearly 150 pounds of marijuana with a value of $650,000.”
Members of the Suffolk County Police Department and the 109th Precinct worked together on the case, authorities said, which culminated in a bust operation. The sting involved an undercover officer posing as a delivery worker bringing the pot to the two suspects in Flushing — though the sting wound up being delayed because one of the recipients didn’t have his ID on him.
According to Ryan, the Suffolk County Police Department received information on May 6 about a shipment of boxes being held at a commercial business in Farmingdale. Officers responded to the location and spotted numerous boxes, some of which were damaged to the point that the contents — vacuum-sealed bags of pot — were clearly visible.
Police obtained the manifest which included information about the sender and receiver of the shipment, which was slated for delivery to a Blossom Avenue location in Flushing. Suffolk County cops alerted the 109th Precinct, which took over the investigation. The cargo was scheduled for delivery to the location on May 8 at noon.
Ryan said that an undercover NYPD officer posed as a deliveryman and brought the cargo to the Blossom Avenue location, where he met Kim. Choi was near the location, waiting inside a rented Chevrolet Suburban.
After providing Kim the cargo, authorities said, the undercover officer asked to see Kim’s identification; Kim claimed he did not have his identification on him. The boxes were then re-loaded into the delivery vehicle, and Kim said he would return with his ID.
Soon after, Kim returned with his ID, but it did not match the name on the manifest. Kim allegedly explained that he was the actual shipper, and that his Americanized name was on the ID; he then requested that the “deliveryman” contact the shipping company to verify.
After Kim’s identity was verified, prosecutors noted, he and Choi took possession of the pot-filled cargo — and were arrested by cops. Officers secured the rental vehicle at the 109th Precinct and recovered 20 boxes labeled “Ghost,” inside of which contained 1000 THC-filled vaporizer cartridges. The cargo also contained 144 pounds of marijuana, valued at $650,000.
Kim and Choi were each ordered held in custody on $100,000 bail and to return to court on May 28. They each face up to 24 years behind bars if convicted.