The Eagles told us a long time ago that there’s “plenty of room at the Hotel California. Anytime of year, you can find it [there].” The Metropolitan Police dubbed their early August drug investigation “Operation Hotel California” because the song title suited their surveillance of 26 suspected narcotics violators selling large quantities of high grade California marijuana.
Good criminals have vivid imaginations that help them to stay off of the police’s radar. A creative, quiet plan is especially vital for drug dealers. In the underground marijuana business, it has become common practice for stoners and dealers alike to get their weed from legal, California dispensaries (in California, weed from dispensaries is cheaper than on the street). Some even play the game of having the loud bud sent to them through the mail in discreet packaging disguising the look and smell. The Central Florida collective targeted by Operation Hotel California made such a plan. found the accommodations at various International Drive hotels similar to the Eagles’ description of “Hotel California.” The hotels were lovely enough for them to use them as a pick up point for their marijuana operation. Crew members would rent rooms at I Drive hotels and have packs delivered to them there from a California connect. They would sign for the package (some said to be worth thousands of dollars), check out, then take the loud to their homes in suburban Orlando where they’d put it out in the street.
Agents raided several homes: “one on Willow Bay Terrace, in Casselberry, and two more on Arden Villas Boulevard and Logandale Drive, both in east Orange County.” According to the Orlando Sentinel:
Charges in the case include racketeering, importation of cannabis, trafficking in cocaine over 400 grams, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine over 400 grams, trafficking in 25 pounds or more cannabis, and conspiracy to traffic in cannabis 25 pounds or more.
Guns were also recovered in the raid, but the crew isn’t linked to any violence on the streets according to police.
Amy Jean Eismann, 24; Thomas W. Crump, 38; and Ashley Renert, 27 were three of the players in the plot and they were led by 29-year-old Joshua Neal Slemons. 35-year-old Binh Tran of Westminster California has been labeled as the California connect.
Operation Hotel California isn’t over though. The feds are still looking to make more arrests and seizures in California and Central Florida.