Raids targeting a wholesale marijuana ring based in New York and Florida resulted in the arrests of 45 people, including one of the founders of the Roc-A-Fella record label, prosecutors said Friday.
Kareem Burke, who started the hip-hop label with Jay-Z and Damon Dash in the 1990s, was caught on a wiretap discussing "grow houses" with the ringleader, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said. An employee of High Times magazine also was charged.
Prosecutors allege the marijuana was grown using hydroponics in Florida and smuggled to New York for street sales.
The name of Burke's attorney was not immediately available. There was no immediate response to an e-mail sent to the label.
Jim Hayes, head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New York, said the takedown was the result of an 18-month investigation involving his agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York Police Department, as well as the city's Department of Investigation and Special Narcotics Prosecutor's office.
Authorities said they seized nearly $2 million and more than 360 pounds of marijuana.
(This version corrects the record label co-founder's name to Damon Dash.)