In Florida and throughout the nation, violent crimes are often connected to various drug-related activities. Recently, a man considered by authorities as a major player in federal drug trafficking dealings entered a guilty plea for murder in another state. The hearing was held on a recent Tuesday and reportedly stems from investigations conducted by both Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
The 43-year-old man in question is reportedly known by authorities and colleagues as "Shorty." He apparently told the court that he is responsible for nine murders and at least 10 other attempted murders. He also pleaded guilty to money laundering and marijuana trafficking.
The man said he is the leader of a violent organized group that has committed perjury, firearms offenses and laundered millions of dollars. The count in the indictment to which he pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of possible life in prison for the self-proclaimed drug kingpin. The court will now turn its attention to the sentencing phase of the proceedings, and the man and his counsel will have an opportunity to convince the judge to impose a lighter sentence than what is contemplated under the federal sentencing guidelines.
The defendant agreed to pay $25 million in forfeitures. This amount was estimated as equal to the amount of proceeds he gained from racketeering incidents, properties owned in Florida and other states, and various items of cash and jewels that were seized by authorities. He has been in federal custody since 2010. Federal drug trafficking and violent crime charges at this level are very serious matters, typically requiring seasoned guidance from an experience criminal lawyer who has gone to bat for other high profile defendants.
Source: ice.gov, "Drug trafficking kingpin pleads guilty to murders, marijuana trafficking, money laundering, among other charges", June 7, 2016