Crime

Do the crime — get your stuff auctioned

On the block: Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Robin Pinkard sits in a 2011 Nissan Maxima, one of the vehicles that was auctioned by the department on June 3. The box truck seen behind the Maxima (used U-Haul truck) was also auctioned.
On the block: Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Robin Pinkard sits in a 2011 Nissan Maxima, one of the vehicles that was auctioned by the department on June 3. The box truck seen behind the Maxima (used U-Haul truck) was also auctioned. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The man busted by Miami-Dade County police a year ago for selling weed knew there was a chance he’d get caught and jailed. But he probably didn’t anticipate this: The car he was using at the time is being sold at a rock-bottom price, with the proceeds going to the police department.

It was June 2014 when police spotted Antwain Rolle opening the hood of his burgundy 2011, four-door Nissan Maxima, and retrieving “a white plastic bag from on top of the engine.” Police said Rolle opened the bag, exposing a gallon baggie of pot, went into a home, then came out and stuffed the bag filled with the marijuana in the car’s gas tank.

An officer later testified during a forfeiture hearing for the vehicle in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court that the bag retrieved from the gas tank had 23 grams of weed stuffed into it.

Three weeks ago the Maxima, and a host of other vehicles, went on display on the auction site www.publicsurplus.com. It was advertised as in fair condition with a broken odometer. But the air conditioner and the power brakes work just fine.

A few days before the auction closed Sunday night, the bid stood at $4,000.09, proffered by girltalkstart. On most car sales sites on the Internet, 2011 Nissan Maximas were selling for around $12,000.

“Anyone can buy it except county employees,” said Miami-Dade police Sgt. Edelmira Moraitis, who runs the auction program.

The Maxima and dozens of other vehicles are auctioned all the time by police agencies throughout Florida because they’ve been forfeited by owners who were found by a court to have done something illegal. In Rolle’s case, the court determined his car was used in the sale of drugs and could be taken away from him.

Money made from the Maxima — and all other forfeited vehicles — goes into the Miami-Dade County Police Department’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which helps fund things like athletic leagues for kids, or other projects the department deems worthy. To make a bid just click open the site and scroll down to Miami-Dade County.

Also on the auction block last week: A 1995 Ford F700 truck with 176,358 miles and rear-wheel drive. And this added feature: a customized trap door in the floor.

According to the forfeiture complaint, the truck was seized in May, 2013, when police raided the Southwest Miami-Dade home of Lazaro Raul Caro after receiving an anonymous tip. At the home, an officer checking the backyard “detected an odor of live marijuana as she approached a box truck on the south side of the residence.”

The complaint says the officer retrieved a key from the kitchen “and unlocked a trap door located underneath the truck on the driver’s side. The door led to a fully functional marijuana hydroponics lab located inside the box of the truck.”

Police also found a 9 millimeter Glock handgun, a Remington shotgun, and a .380 Taurus handgun inside the home. Police also determined that Caro was diverting electricity into the truck to cultivate the weed.

“FP&L responded to the house after being contacted and issued a ticket,” the complaint said.

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