Drug-running Florida Keys family busted with 17 pounds of cocaine, 500 lobster tails
STOCK ISLAND, Fla. -- Members of a Stock Island family with a history of drug arrests were jailed Thursday after a raid on their "compound" turned up eight kilograms (17.8 pounds) of cocaine, 2,100 bars of Xanax, 500 Oxy pills, a cookie of crack cocaine weighing seven grams, more than $75,000 in cash -- and 500 lobster tails under the legal size limit, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Held on multimillion-dollar bonds are Juan Soca Sr., 63; Juan Soca Jr., 42; and Jose Soca, 38. The "compound" consisting of side-by-side trailers is at 6451 6th St.
"This is not the first time we have served drug-related search warrants on the Soca property," Sheriff Rick Ramsay said.
Deputy Becky Herrin gave the following account:
The Sheriff's Office obtained the search warrant after Soca Jr. allegedly sold 1.5 ounces of cocaine Tuesday to an undercover operative near the Stock Island Lobster Co., where Soca Sr. has a commercial fishing boat. Juan Soca Sr. and Jose Soca were at the compound when the warrant was served Wednesday.
Soca Jr. was picked up a short time later at an apartment building on South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West and had about 300 Oxycodone pills with him. The search of the compound "went on late into the night Wednesday and resumed Thursday morning as detectives continued to find drugs and money hidden in various areas, including buried in the ground, hidden in concealed compartments, false electrical boxes and in a boat fender nailed to a fence." They found the lobster tails in a freezer.
The three Socas are charged with cocaine trafficking, and Jose Soca faces additional charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of the undersized lobster tails.
Herrin said Soca Jr. and Sr. were charged with trafficking in cocaine in 2002. She said Soca Jr. -- who has a 28 arrests since 2001 on various charges -- was also arrested for trafficking in cocaine in 2003. However, state Department of Corrections records don't show what, if any, prison time they served (although it could have been federal).
"We are going to do everything we can to make sure it is the last" time authorities have to deal with the Socas, Ramsay said, "The drug activity by these members of the Soca family is a danger to everyone in our county."
Working with the Sheriff's Office were Key West police, the Monroe High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group, the Key West HIDTA Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations. SWAT teams from the Sheriff's Office and the Key West Police Department executed the warrant.
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