NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Nine months after its grand opening, the new Berkley Supermarket in Norfolk, Virginia, has a king-sized problem. It all started earlier this month when the store received what it initially thought was routine delivery.

A truck had delivered a large package that was the size of two wardrobe boxes.

“This box has our address on it and it says ‘Berkley’ on it. The trucking company called to say they sent it to the wrong address and they are going to pick it up,” store owner Mike Palmer told Nexstar’s WAVY.

Minutes later, Palmer says two men entered the store to inquire about the package. Those men were caught on the store surveillance video and later identified by police as Lichuang Dai and Jianfeng Ma, both 32.

“Few minutes later, the cops came. I think there was some guy who came to pick up the package. The police arrest them and the next thing I know there is marijuana inside,” said Palmer.

It was a lot of marijuana, over 220 pounds, with a street value of more than $1 million.

Both Dai and Ma were arrested and are in Norfolk City Jail without bond.

Police said the men were charged with penalties for sale, gift, distribution or possession with intent to sell, give or distribute marijuana (which is a felony for more than five pounds) and transporting controlled substances into the commonwealth.  

Investigators did not share how they tracked down the suspects.

“They are not employees of Berkley Supermarket; they don’t work here, they are not associated with anyone in this building,” Palmer said.

Days later, Norfolk Police issued an amended news release stating just that. 

It appears that this location was being used as a drop-off by Dai and Ma to receive the package from the courier unbeknownst to the staff at the supermarket.

Norfolk Police

“Negative news travels fast. I mean it gets out like wildfire,” said Pee Wee Thompson, unofficial Mayor of Berkley. Thompson wants the public to know the reputation of this Black business matters. “We use the slogan ‘we take care of our own.’ Without it, we would just be in a food desert.”