Florida Keys

He’s serving life for double murder. Fifteen more was tacked on for cocaine trafficking.

Jeremy Macauley
Jeremy Macauley - Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Jeremy Macauley is already serving a life sentence for killing a Tavernier couple in October 2015 over a cocaine-related extortion attempt.

He had been holding out on accepting a plea deal by state prosecutors for cocaine trafficking since the spring, but finally took them up on the offer Tuesday.

The case was scheduled to go to trial Sept. 17. Testimony would have included mention of other people involved with the sale of 12 to 15 kilograms of cocaine and the charter fishing boat on which Macauley said he brought the coke to shore during the summer of 2015.

Macauley, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to traffic more then 400 grams of cocaine while armed and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He made the plea at the Plantation Key courthouse and will serve 15 years concurrently with his life sentence for first-degree murder, on which he was convicted in November and sentenced in December.

Macauley shot to death Tara Rosado, 26, and Carlos Ortiz, 30, on Oct. 15, 2015, inside Rosado’s Cuba Road home in Tavernier. Ortiz was the target of the murder and Rosado was subsequently targeted for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, prosecutors say.

The getaway driver, Adrian Demblans, 36, is serving a 10-year prison sentence for accessory after the fact of a capital felony. He pleaded guilty before the trial and testified against Macauley as part of an agreement with prosecutors. He was facing 30 years if his case went before a jury.

Demblans drove Macauley to and from Rosado’s house. He threw the .45-caliber pistol used in the slayings into a Key Largo canal.

Days before Ortiz was killed, he sent repeated text messages to Macauley demanding money in exchange for not telling the cops about the cocaine. Prosecutors and detectives say Macauley found the cocaine offshore when he was working as a fishing mate aboard the Sea Horse charter boat months before the killings.

Ortiz and Macauley were business partners in a fledgling tattoo shop in Key Largo. Ortiz and some of Macauley’s other friends helped Macauley sell the cocaine.

The captain of the Sea Horse, Rick Rodriguez, also received threatening texts from Ortiz. Rodriguez, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, was never charged with any crime related to the case and has repeatedly denied knowing about the drugs.

Nevertheless, Monroe County detectives have always suspected Rodriguez was involved in the crime.

The Reel G charter fishing boat sits docked at a Tavernier marina in 2016. The vessel was owned by Adrian Demblans, the man convicted of driving Jeremy Macauley to and from the scene of where an Upper Keys couple was murdered in October 2015. The root of the murders was cocaine found offshore by Macauley while he worked as a mate on a charter fishing boat. David Goodhue

Rodriguez knew both Macauley and Demblans, who was also in the charter fishing business. In 2013, Rodriguez transferred ownership of one his boats, the Tag ‘Em, to Demblans, who re-christened the vessel, the Reel G.