By Gil Kaufman
Kareem “Biggs” Burke, one of the co-founders of Jay-Z’s storied Roc-A-Fella Records, is set to serve a 5-year prison sentence after being found guilty of attempting to distribute 100 kilos of marijuana.
According to the New York Daily News, Biggs was snared as part of a dragnet dubbed “Operation Green Venom,” in which 50 people were arrested for conspiracy to distribute marijuana in a coordinated sting that included New York’s Department of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New York and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s office.
Burke was caught via a wiretap discussing activities at a grow house with the ring’s leader. Prosecutors alleged that the drugs were being grown using hydroponic systems in Florida and California and later smuggled into New York and sold on the street.
During his sentencing, Biggs promised Manhattan Federal Court Judge Loretta Swain that she would never see him in court again. She replied that it was nothing personal, but, “I’m going to keep you to that promise.” Burke, 38, was arrested in the case in October 2010 as part of a sting operation focusing on a marijuana trafficking operation that distributed weed to customers in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Biggs faced a mandatory minimum sentence of five to 40 years on the charges and was forced to forfeit $15,000 in cash, his $600,000 New Jersey house and a BMW as part of his plea deal.
He co-founded Roc-A-Fella with Jay and Damon Dash in 1995 in order to release Jigga’s first album, Reasonable Doubt. Over the years, the label’s roster would include Memphis Bleek, DJ Clue, Cam’ron, Freeway, M.O.P., Juelz Santana and Kanye West. The three went their separate ways in 2004 when Roc-A-Fella became a subsidiary of the Island Def Jam Music Group.