'Operation Weed Whacker' Shuts Down $14.6-Million Pot Ring

'Operation Weed Whacker' Shuts Down $14.6-Million Pot Ring

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BLUE BELL, Pa. -

It started with high-potency pot turning up on the streets of Montgomery County neighborhoods and a tip call to the district attorney.

"It was actually a call made to me personally that generated what's in front of you," District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman told reporters at a Thursday morning news conference displaying some of the pot.

That tip started "Operation Weed Whacker" and led detectives to some of the proceeds from the $14.6 million marijuana operation with ties to California and distributors all across our area. Hundreds of pounds of pot was seized along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug profits. Eight defendants are facing serious charges.

"The marijuana they brought in from California was spread across Southeast Pennsylvania," the D.A. explained.

"This is a lot of effort for pot," said one defense attorney

Defense attorneys weren't buying the D.A.'s claims as they tried to lower the $4-million bail for the main defendants, Dennis Frederick and his brother Jeffrey.

"This is not about cocaine, it's not about crack, heroin or all of the other very addictive drugs. It's about pot," said defense attorney Hope Lefeber, who represents Dennis Frederick.

The Frederick brothers are charged, along with Charles Sadrin, with running a corrupt organization that shipped close to 4,000 pounds of high-grade pot to the region in big tool boxes. Police say five different varieties were offered at $4,000 a pound. The latest pot shipment was stored in a place they called "the warehouse" on Sigel Street in South Philly.

"We're talking about an organization that in less than one-and-half years has moved $14.5 million," Ferman said. "That is massive."

Investigators took nearly 400 pounds of pot and close to half-a-million dollars out of the garage on the 1100 block of Sigel Street two weeks ago. They also seized 30 cell phones, guns, cars and $700,000 in cash.

The defendants will be back in court for their preliminary hearings on June 6 in Montgomery County.

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