Police Fine 672 Pounds Of Crack Cocaine Center In Luxury Home
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) _ The scene of this city’s largest cocaine bust resembles a ″Miami Vice″ set: a luxury waterfront home complete with Louis XIV-style furniture, bronze statues, video intercom and a voodoo cross.
Officers who broke down the bronze front doors with an ax Thursday night found five people ranging in age from 17 to 72 hiding in closets and a trash can.
A Santaria cross, a voodoo cult symbol meant to ward off evil spirits and law enforcement, was hanging on the door, said Dennis Koronkiewicz, a police spokesman.
Agents seized 672 pounds of Colombian cocaine in powder form packed in coded kilogram packages, he said. Chemicals and supplies for converting the powder into crack cocaine also was confiscated.
The cocaine had a street value of $6.6 million in powder form but would have been worth much more if it had been converted into the popular rock form, Koronkiewicz said.
The raid by 20 police, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Customs agents from land and from Biscayne Bay came as a shock to neighbors in the exclusive gated community of Old Cutler Bay, he said.
″They can’t believe it,″ Koronkiewicz said. ″It’s a very quiet, exclusive residential area. They were all out there last night, and they really couldn’t believe what was going on.″
The six-bedroom, six-bathroom house of about 7,500 square feet is valued at about $1.2 million, Koronkiewicz said.
It contained a Louis XIV dining room set, a bayfront pool, hand-carved mahogany cabinets, original paintings, two big-screen TVs, four or five videocassette recorders and security cameras, he said.
A video intercom system allowed someone in one part of the house to talk to someone in another section and see them on a video screen.
″The entire house was just about done in marble floors,″ Koronkiewicz said. ″It certainly could be something that Sotheby’s could auction.″
Three high-speed boats were seized. Police, who began their investigation six months ago, believe the boats were used to carry cocaine from anchored ships at sea to a dock at the house.
Six cars, a loaded Uzi machine gun, several .357-caliber Magnum handguns and $50,000 cash also were confiscated.
Held on a federal warrant charging conspiracy to traffic in cocaine were:Rolando Sardinas, 20, of Hialeah; Pablo Bernal, 72, of Miami; Allan Michado, 19, of Miami; and Armondo Miguel, 20, address unknown, and a 17-year- old girl whose name was not released. The girl was the only one who admitted living at the house.