By Hiroko Sator and Robert Mills, Staff
CHELMSFORD — A federal agent drove the vehicle from upstate New York before an informant got behind the wheel to finish the trip to a restaurant parking lot off Route 38 in Tewksbury.
The informant had been asked to deliver the 108 pounds of marijuana that was in the vehicle, but called agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service to let them know about the drug deal ahead of time.
Agents met the informant in New York, and an agent drove the vehicle while the informant rode with two other agents, until just before they arrived at the Tewksbury parking lot.
A short series of meetings took place, and the following day those who met the informant in the parking lot had him follow them to 55 Dunstable Road in Chelmsford.
That is when agents watched Yoeun Eng, 33, of 220 Fayette St., Lowell, unload a duffel bag holding the marijuana from the vehicle, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by an ICE agent.
Then, local police and federal agents moved in.
They identified themselves as police, and Eng dropped the bag and tried to run. He made it to the home's backyard before being arrested.
Agents also arrested Amanda Scott, 23, of Pawtucket, R.I.; The Nguyen, 20, of 30 Angle St., Lowell; and Hong Hak, 21, of 220 Fayette St., Lowell.
The four now face a federal complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston charging them with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
Eng was ordered held pending trial, but the other three were released.
Once those four were in custody, a state search warrant was obtained, and agents and local police searched the home at 55 Dunstable Road. Inside they found another pound of marijuana in the refrigerator's crisper, three marijuana cigarettes near the television and two loaded handguns.
A .40 caliber Smith & Wesson with a destroyed serial number was under a pillow on the bed, and a Ruger P89 was under a cushion of a love seat in the living room, according to an affidavit.
Police also found a money counter, heat sealer and scale, the affidavit said.
Chelmsford Deputy Police Chief Scott Ubele said the marijuana was worth an estimated $250,000, and had likely come from Canada.
He said the drug-smuggling operation was tied to gangs in the Greater Lowell area.
"It's certainly a large network. It's definitely gang-related," Ubele said.
Ubele declined to release the name of the informant — who has not been charged — or the criminal history the four arrested may have. The house at 55 Dunstable Road contains two apartments, and the ownership is under investigation, Ubele said.
All four defendants are due back in court Feb. 7, at 2 p.m.
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$250K of pot seized in Mass. bust