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Phone call leads to $3 million drug bust

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Drug kingpins have been arrested, deputies say, and a criminal empire that stretches from coast to coast and up to the north, is now crumbling with even more arrests imminent.

Caroline investigators, along with Spotsylvania deputies and federal agents, uncovered a multi-million dollar drug operation after a simple petit larceny call.

The booty collected by law enforcement looks like items out of a hot rod magazine: motorcycles, boats, antique cars.  It all now belongs to two local sheriff departments after a massive drug bust at a lakefront property off Outer Banks Lane.

“I’m kind of amazed it would go on around here,” said Randy Jackson who lives nearby. “It’s a retirement resort neighborhood.”

Narcotics investigators sniffed out the super-sized stash after a Caroline County deputy making a petit larceny arrest last year stumbled upon what turned out to be a drug intelligence gold mine.

“As a result of that arrest, she saw some marijuana deals going in and out of that house,” said Sheriff Tony Lippa.  “So our narcotics guys got search warrants.”

Deputies say those warrants that pinpointed Andrew Yates and Steven Paine of Spotsylvania as two major players in trafficking marijuana.

“This will stretch out to as far as the other side of the United States,” said Lippa.

Lippa says it may not end there.  Investigators are still tracking a trail that could go into Canada.  More than 5,000 pounds of marijuana worth $3.25 million have been confiscated along with assault rifles and hand guns.

“When they have that much firepower, one thinks, ‘why do they have it?’” said Lippa.

As the sun set over Lake Anna it was calm and quiet in the community again, two days removed from a raid that Caroline deputies tout as the biggest marijuana bust in their county’s history.

And deputies say, they’re not done.

“We’ve been unraveling a big case that’s still ongoing and we will get to the core,” said Lippa.

Late Tuesday deputies arrested Tim Dodd for allegedly possessing 46 marijuana plants and two pounds of packaged marijuana.

And among some of the bizarre elements of the case, undercover officers told me a drug dealer was abducted and held for ransom, by one of the kingpins apparently unhappy with his performance.