Three men accused of conspiring with a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy to perform a fake raid on a marijuana warehouse — stealing 1,200 pounds of the drug and $645,000 in cash and money orders — were arrested Thursday, federal officials announced.
The most recent arrests come just weeks after L.A. Sheriff’s Deputy Marc Antrim agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with the armed robbery last October, which was nearly stopped by Los Angeles Police Department officers who ultimately left the scene, authorities said. Antrim and his co-conspirators were allegedly posing as officers performing a legitimate drug bust.
Back in November, two other men were named co-defendants alongside Antrim: Kevin McBride, 43, and Eric Rodriguez, 32. They have signed plea deals.
On Thursday morning, Matthew James Perez, 42, of Ontario; Daniel Aguilera, 31, of East Los Angeles; and Jay Colby Sanford, 41, of Pomona, were all taken into custody on suspicion of also conspiring with Antrim to commit the robbery.
For their assistance in the heist, Perez was expected to be paid $30,000 while Sanford would receive $10,000 and Aguilera would be given $5,000, according to federal prosecutors.
Each now faces a charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and could receive up to 40 years in federal prison. If convicted, they face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years.
Perez was with off-duty Antrim and another unidentified man when they arrived to a marijuana warehouse in an unmarked Ford Explorer registered to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 3 a.m. on Oct. 29, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Federal officials said the men pretended to be law enforcement officers serving a search warrant and were dressed like deputies wearing holstered firearms. Perez allegedly brandished a rifle.
Aguilera assisted the other robbers by driving a large rental truck into the warehouse parking lot so the stolen marijuana, two cash-filled safes and other items could be packed up and transported, according to federal prosecutors. Antrim had allegedly detained the warehouse’s three security guards inside the unmarked sheriff’s vehicle.
Meanwhile, Sanford served as a the look-out for the two-hour robbery, staying in touch with the others by phone and walkie-talkie radios, federal prosecutors said.
At one point, Los Angeles Police Department officers were called to the scene by the warehouse but Antrim showed them his badge — falsely claiming he was performing a legitimate search, authorities said. Perez and the other robber posing as a fake deputy took off their LASD jackets and fled through a back door.
To cover up the crime, Antrim even had one of the LAPD officers speak over the phone with someone else posing as his sergeant with the Sheriff’s Department, prosecutors said. The LAPD officers ultimately left and the robbery was completed.