Twenty-seven members of an international drug trafficking organization operating primarily through Miami International Airport (MIA) were charged with federal narcotics violations, following an investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD). Eighteen defendants were arrested while nine, all Hispanic, remain at large.
This joint investigation began in the spring of 2007 and focused on long-term narcotics traffickers importing drugs, including cocaine and heroin, through MIA for subsequent distribution in Miami. As a result of this proactive investigation, the defendants were charged with federal narcotics violations, including importation and possession and distribution of cocaine and heroin. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.
“This case demonstrates that drug smuggling organizations will utilize any means available to smuggle narcotics into the United States,” said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of the ICE Office in Miami. The U.S. District Attorney of Florida stated “The smuggling of any contraband through MIA threatens our domestic security.”