Broward County

He was looking for the extras in his avocado shipment. Drug agents helped with that

Piles of cocaine intercepted on its way to South Florida last summer.
Piles of cocaine intercepted on its way to South Florida last summer. dneal@MiamiHerald.com

So, your shipment of avocados shows up from the Dominican Republic and it’s lacking the $10 million of cocaine you expected with the avocados. What do you do?

Maybe try to pay off the shipping company warehouse supervisor you think discovered the blow with your produce? That’s what federal prosecutors say New Yorker Siffredo Gonzalez did when 83.5 kilos of cocaine got intercepted at Port Everglades in Broward County.

That’s why Gonzalez stands indicted for conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute and attempting to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Each count carries a sentence that ranges from 10 years to life.

The criminal complaint alleges that a container sent from PADEXPORT SRL in the Dominican Republic to VPC Produce Corp. in the Bronx was supposed to contain avocados. It did. But Customs and Border Protection’s Anti-Terrorism Contraband Team at Port Everglades on Dec. 15 saw some white powder inside the container’s cardboard boxes. That turned out to be some of the 83.5 kilos of cocaine concealed in the cardboard boxes.

Minus the cocaine, which NarcoticNews.com says goes for $120,000 to $150,000 per kilogram on the street in New York, authorities sent the box on to its scheduled destination on Jan. 3. It got to VPC at a different Bronx address on Jan. 5, the complaint said.

Two days later, an undercover agent acting as a warehouse supervisor started getting phone calls from the Dominican Republic and New York. The agent says he gave the impression he had found the cocaine mixed in with the avocado shipment. A meeting was arranged.

Gonzalez showed up to a Jan. 9 meeting with $25,000 for the undercover agent, the complaint alleges, and showed up to a Jan. 10 meeting with a U-Haul. The agent showed up with the 83.5 kilos, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents out of Fort Lauderdale and Broward Sheriff’s Office Task Force members.

After Gonzalez got his kilos, the complaint said, he was taken into custody.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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