By Jennifer Glickel
MANHATTAN — Kareem "Biggs" Burke, the rap mogul who co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records and helped launch rapper Jay-Z's career, was arrested on Friday in a massive drug bust of the ring that controlled New York City's marijuana market, according to reports.
Burke and Matthew Stang, High Times magazine writer and senior advertising representative, were among the 45 people from Florida to New York who were arrested in an operation authorities called "Green Venom," the New York Post reported.
"This isn't just a group that controlled one block, one neighborhood," Jim Hayes, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the New York Daily News.
"They dominated the wholesale marijuana market in New York for 20 years," he said, according to the paper.
Authorities also arrested the drug ring's alleged leader, Geovanny “Manny” Rodriguez Perez, on Friday, after an 18-month investigation in which federal officials seized $1 million and 177 pounds of pot, Hayes said.
"They grow the pot, they ship it up north, they sell pot, and send the money back to South Florida," Hayes told the News.
Seven other members of the narcotics network are expected to be arrested, Hayes told both publications.