The recent arrests of two men in south Miami-Dade helped federal agents disrupt a cocaine distribution ring in South Florida, according to court records.
Francisco Weeks and Juan Carlos Rodríguez are now awaiting trial after pleading not guilty following their indictment last week in Miami federal court.
The case is one of several recent similar crackdowns against local and regional drug distribution networks by agents belonging to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The case began when DEA agents in Homestead received a tip from an informant who had been contacted by a suspected drug trafficker who offered to sell several kilos of cocaine, according to a criminal complaint filed in court by a DEA special agent.
On Jan. 14, the complaint says, agents met with the confidential source and recorded two telephone calls from the alleged trafficker, who subsequently was identified as Weeks.
The defendant invited the informant to visit him at his house where he would be able to inspect the cocaine before buying it, the complaint says. Agents ordered the informant — called a confidential informant or CS in the complaint — to visit Weeks and record the encounter.
“Agents gave the CS an audio recording and transmission device,” the complaint says. “Agents then followed the CS to Weeks’s residence located in Miami…and watched as [the informant] met with Weeks outside the residence.”
Instead of going inside the house, the complaint said, the informant and Weeks got into a nearby vehicle where they discussed the cocaine deal.
“Through the listening device, agents heard Weeks explain that his supplier would be going to a ‘warehouse’ to pick up the cocaine, and that he would be at Week’s residence shortly,” according to the complaint.
After a few minutes, the complaint says, Weeks made a telephone call to his cocaine supplier to verify that he was coming.
About five minutes later, the complaint said, a silver Nissan SUV parked in front of Weeks’s residence. The driver was later identified as Rodríguez, according to court records.
“Agents observed Rodríguez exit the SUV with a black shopping bag and meet with Weeks and the CS in front of Weeks’s residence,” the complaint says. “Weeks, Rodríguez, and the CS then walked into the residence.”
Over the listening device, agents learned that the black shopping bag contained four bricks of cocaine, according to the complaint.
Weeks then walked out of the residence, boarded the SUV parked outside and began to depart, the complaint said. It was then that agents made their move.
When agents stopped the SUV and detained Weeks, Rodríguez, the DEA informant and an unidentified woman left the residence by a side door. They were then all detained as well, according to the complaint.
After the arrest, Weeks agreed to talk to the agents but the complaint only says that he acknowledged arranging the transaction at his house and the presence of the cocaine bricks. The complaint did not provide details about how the alleged dealers obtained the cocaine and where it came from.
The complaint accused both Weeks and Rodríguez with conspiring to “possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.”
If convicted at trial, the defendants could be sentenced to a maximum penalty of 40 years in the penitentiary.
DEA officials and Weeks’s attorney could not be reached for comment. Rodríguez’s attorney declined to comment on the case.
Alfonso Chardy: 305-376-3435, @AlfonsoChardy