MIAMI LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) – Miami-Dade Police made a record-breaking seizure of drug money during a raid on a Miami Lakes home.
It began when Miami-Dade Police raided The Blossoms Experience, Tuesday, a store that apparently served as a front for a marijuana trafficking operation between South Florida and Tennessee.
Police said they then went to the store owner’s home on 169th Terrace in Miami Lakes, Wednesday, where they found $24 million in cash stored in buckets behind drywall. Miami-Dade Police said it’s the biggest cash seizure in the department’s history. The cash was spread out in 24 buckets, with $1 million in each.
Police said they also found a high-powered gun in the attic of the home; a safe with an additional $180,000 and marijuana seeds called “Superchunk” and “Chernobyl.”
Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez was charged with money laundering, cannabis trafficking, conspiring to traffic cannabis, unlawful use of communication, possession of cannabis, weapon/possession while committing an offense, possession of place/purpose of trafficking. His sister, Salma Hernandez, was also arrested and charged with possession of place/purpose of trafficking (marijuana), possession of place/purpose of trafficking/conspiracy (marijuana).
Police said they have had Gonzalez under surveillance since 2010.
Neighbors were shocked to hear that this was happening in their neighborhood.
“It’s just outrageous,” Jose Zatarin said. “I would never, ever, had thought that that would’ve been something that was going on in this neighborhood.”
On Wednesday, police searched a second home, located off Northwest 180th Terrace and 90th Place, owned by Hernandez. A neighbor said she never noticed much activity in the home. “It’s a nice neighborhood, and there’s never been much activity in that house,” said Martha. “I’m actually very surprised.”
Hernandez his being held on a $12,000 bond, while Gonzalez is being held on $4 million bond. Law enforcement believe Gonzalez ran the operation. Both would need to prove that any money used to post bond did not come from illegal activities.
An attorney for the suspects said police made incorrect assumptions before arresting the brother and sister. “There’s a presumption of innocence,” said defense attorney Frank Gaviria, “and at this point, they’re connecting the dots that we don’t think connect.”
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