Right Under Their Noses

How did the sheriff's posse commander and his minions miss what is alleged to have been the largest marijuana-smuggling operation ever run by gringos? They were, after all, sharing a warehouse.

Now Weide has to explain to posse members and deputies alike how a major drug-smuggling operation was run out of a warehouse he uses as a posse field office and for Arpaio's political endeavors.

The episode won't enhance the reputation of the Executive Posse, which has boasted among its members former governor and bank-fraud artist J. Fife Symington III and alleged bookies and Asian gang members Kenny and Tom Tat.

The Sheriff's Office did not respond to a public-records request for files related to Weide, nor did Arpaio respond to a written request for an interview to discuss the marijuana-smuggling operation being conducted out of Weide's warehouse.

While Weide and his friends in the Sheriff's Office lay low, there are indications that federal investigators are still poking around in Phoenix.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake Snyder traveled from Waco to be in Phoenix when Thrasher, Colter and others searched Weide's warehouse. Several days after the February search, Snyder described Weide's warehouse connection as "bizarre."

Nine months later, Snyder was still wondering about Weide's warehouse in the context of Rice's huge drug-smuggling operation.

"That's a real curiosity for us," Snyder said in a November interview.
And it is a question that appears to have stirred up some continuing interest, at least at the federal level, Snyder says.

"The matter is still under real heavy investigation."

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