by MICHAEL GORDON / The Charlotte Observer, October 16, 2013
Nearly a half-ton of marijuana headed to Charlotte last month became bait in a federal sting that led to the arrest of two area men.
According to federal court records unsealed this week, Ramond Deforrest Boyd and Kareem Laurence Gary were indicted on charges of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy.
The substance: 800 pounds of marijuana to be shipped from El Paso, Texas, to Charlotte for resale.
Richard Russell, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a court filing this month that federal agents seized the marijuana in west Texas after getting a tip on the shipment. But agents brought it to Charlotte last month to help catch those who wanted to sell it locally.
On Sept. 27, Russell said, undercover agents in Charlotte began negotiating with their targets.
On Oct. 1, the details of the sting were arranged. The marijuana would change hands in the Wal-Mart parking lot on North Tryon Street. An undercover agent was told to look for a Range Rover.
That afternoon, a black Range Rover with the tag “Groomers,” entered the lot. Court documents say the car was registered to Boyd, a Matthews resident who, according to state records, owned Groomer’s Barber Shop on Brookshire Boulevard. A key had been left under the driver’s side floor mat of the Range Rover.
A federal agent drove the SUV to another location and loaded it with 16 bales of pot. He then returned the car to the parking lot.
Just before 6 p.m., another car drove up and dropped off a man, who got into the Range Rover, according to documents. The vehicles drove away together and agents followed them to a garage on Finn Lane in Charlotte. There, they say, they found two men unloading the marijuana.
“You caught me red-handed,” Boyd said, according to court records.
According to Russell, Boyd said he sold marijuana around the city, telling the agents that his barber business had dwindled and he had fallen into debt.
According to court records, Gary told agents he makes about $500 a week distributing marijuana locally. He told officers that he agreed to help Boyd after he had asked him if he could store some marijuana in his garage.
Gary also said the amount of pot turned out to be much larger than Boyd first described.