In Miami, local, state and federal authorities arrested 39 suspects who were participants in a longtime, violent drug trafficking ring. The narcotics trafficking investigation was centered in the Coconut Grove area. The suspects are going to be charged in state and federal court for cocaine possession, cocaine trafficking, marijuana possession, marijuana trafficking, heroine possession, heroine trafficking, and possession of and trafficking in methamphetamines.
Many Miami criminal attorneys will be involved in the representation of those arrested as a result of the investigation. Thirty of the defendants are being prosecuted in federal court where each individual faces between five years and life in prison. Nine of the defendants are being prosecuted in state court by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office where they face serious prison time. The joint investigation which began in 2007, led to the seizure of more than 300 grams of marijuana, cocaine, and heroine. Also seized were several firearms, including AK-47s.
Chief of the City of Miami Police, John Timoney, was proud of the efforts of the City of Miami Police Department, as well as, the other agencies involved in the arrests. For a long time, Coconut Grove has had to deal with violent drug traffickers. Timoney went on to say that those arrested were not run of the mill drug dealers, but entrenched drug gangs involved in drug trafficking and violence.
Acting U.S. Attorney, Jeff Sloman, praised the U.S. Attorney's Office for their efforts in destroying local, national and international drug trafficking rings by prosecuting the leaders of the trafficking organizations. Not only are the traffickers prosecuted, but state and federal authorities engage in forfeiture proceedings to remove the financial ability of the drug trafficking organizations to conduct business. Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, State Attorney for Miami-Dade County, stated that the efforts of law enforcement in this case removed large amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroine and methamphetamines from the streets of Miami.
Many Miami and Coconut locals were impressed with the efforts of law enforcement. Local business and home owners said the arrests were long overdue, and hope that removing the drug traffickers will make a big difference in the community. Others were more skeptical, saying that the criminal justice system is like a revolving door and only time will tell whether or not those arrested will soon be back on the streets of Miami selling drugs.
Ring of Violent Drug Traffickers Busted in Miami, CBS4, August 7, 2009.