A 10-month investigation into a major drug ring in Hollywood ended Wednesday with nine men facing more than 50 charges, including trafficking and delivering heroin.
Eight of the men were arrested Wednesday in a raid that began at 6 a.m. One, identified as 45-year-old Roberto Cabrera, was still on the run.
“By dismantling this organization we certainly have made an impact in making at least the streets of Hollywood much safer,” said Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez at a news conference to announce the arrests, part of an investigation dubbed Operation Heroin Valley.
Sanchez said the ring, led by Jose Morales, 37, has been the “main source” of heroin, flaka, cocaine and other drugs to the streets of Hollywood for more than two years. It was not clear where Morales’ group got the drugs from.
Holding up a plastic bag with 452 grams of heroin — worth upwards of $50,000 on the street — Sanchez said the drugs found in Morales’ Miramar home Wednesday were “already packaged for street distribution.”
By dismantling this organization, we certainly have made an impact in making at least the streets of Hollywood much safer
Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez
Morales, who has faced previous felony drug trafficking charges, was charged Wednesday with four counts of trafficking heroin and four counts of conspiring to traffic heroin.
In his arrest report, a detective wrote that confidential informants helped police identify the members of the ring, many of whom are associated with the Latin King Gang.
During the investigation — which included help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Broward Sheriff’s Office and Miramar Police Department — undercover officers were able to purchase 130 grams of heroin, Sanchez said.
Also arrested Wednesday: Luiz Herreras, 23; Jose Figueroa-Colon, 30; Angel Vega-Santiago, 24; Eugene Santiago, 25; Xavier Lopez, 25 and Heninston Francis, 30. Manuel Santiago, 26, was already in jail facing charges including possession of Ecstasy. He also had several warrants for possession of heroin and burglary.
Most of the men have lengthy records including drug, battery and other felony charges.
By late Wednesday, the seven men arrested were taken to a Broward Sheriff’s Office van to be transported to jail. Some covered their faces but one man declared his innocence.
“I am innocent 100 percent, that’s what I got to say,” said one man as he was led to the van.
Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.