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UPDATE: Marijuana Found In Ambulance Has So. Fla. Connection

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
It made national news when it happened a week ago -- police said an ambulance found in Arkansas loaded with marijuana, but now, NBC 6 has uncovered the South Florida connection.

It turns out the marijuana was allegedly heading from California, police said, to a mansion in Broward county and one man from Texas and three from South Florida are now under arrest.

NBC 6's Ari Odzer said that the federal court document reads like a movie script.

A South Florida millionaire allegedly recruited the players, police said, flew to Los Angeles and set up the operation. He then flew home to Southwest Ranches and waited, police said, for the marijuana to arrive at his house.

Police said the man didn't count on the ambulance breaking down in Maumelle, Ark., and an officer putting the brakes on his plan.

The ambulance carried bundles and boxes weighing 385 pounds and filed with marijuana, police said. About a $1 million worth was crammed into every nook and cranny of the ambulance's back area, police said.

"I was extremely surprised," Chief Sam Williams, of the Maumelle, Ark., Police Department, said. "An ambulance going down the interstate carrying marijuana, never heard of one before."

Odzer interviewed Williams by phone and asked him if the incident was an emergency delivery of pot.

"Apparently," Williams said.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the marijuana was headed from Los Angeles to Southwest Ranches, but the ambulance broke down in Flagstaff and then the transmission went out in Arkansas, where police arrested John Wilhite of Texas, Anthony Aviles of Miramar, and Robert Abreu of Pembroke Pines.

Police said the three tried and failed to look like real paramedics.

"But when you have the sergeant chevrons on upside down on your shirt," Williams said. "That's what we call in the business, 'clues.'"

The DEA said the marijuana was headed to William Lavenia and his million-dollar home.

He allegedly masterminded the whole operation from his home, DEA agents said. Wilhite allegedly told police in Arkansas about it and according to court documents, Wilhite called Lavenia and told him the truck had broken down.

He then put Lavenia on the line with a cop posing as a mechanic, Williams said.

"And then Lavenia tells the guy who he thinks is the mechanic, 'don't tell anybody about the pot in the ambulance, and I'll pay you good money to keep it quiet,'" Williams said.

Williams said he was the voice on the other end of that call, recording the whole thing.

"One of the things we were laughing about is that I don't know a thing about cars," Williams said. "We were talking about transmissions and I don't know if the transmission is on the roof or in the tires. I don't know."

According to the court papers, Lavenia and Wilhite pulled the same type of drug run before. Wilhite was the ambulance driver in Texas last month, when they allegedly used an ambulance from his company to transport the marijuana from Texas to South Florida, Williams said.

Lavenia allegedly posed as the patient in that case and they figured they could do it again, police said.



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Source: NBC6
Contact: NBC Channel 6
Copyright: 2007 by NBC6.net
Website: Marijuana Found In Ambulance Has So. Fla. Connection
 
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