Tampa, Florida – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Paul I. Perez today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging the following individuals with violating federal drug
trafficking and money laundering laws:
1. Sergio Pantoja, a 59 year old resident of Hallandale;
2. Guillermo de la Rosa, a 41 year old resident of Pompano Beach;
3. Gino Puccio, 68 years old, currently incarcerated in Miami;
4. Kenneth Anson, a 46 year old resident of Ft. Lauderdale; and
5. Zoraida Barreto, a 51 year old resident of Miami.
The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Tampa on September 28,
2005. It was unsealed today after the arrests of the defendants. If convicted on all counts, the defendants face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The defendants made their Initial Appearances in federal court in Ft. Lauderdale earlier this afternoon and will remain in custody until their detainment hearings on October 25, 2005 in Fort Lauderdale.
According to the indictment, the defendants allegedly participated in a conspiracy
involving the importation and distribution of more than five (5) kilograms of cocaine. The drug trafficking conspiracy is alleged to have begun in the 1980’s and is believed to be ongoing. In conjunction with the arrests, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies served search warrants in Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Hallandale and Miami.
The indictment alleges that the defendants were part of an organization involved in
the maritime smuggling of multi-hundred kilogram quantities of cocaine from Colombia to South Florida. According to the indictment, once the cocaine shipments arrived in South Florida, generally having been transported by boat from the Bahamas, the cocaine would be further distributed. The organization’s drug trafficking and money laundering activities were conducted in various parts of the United States, including Tampa.
The Forfeiture count in the Indictment seeks a $24 million money judgment and the
forfeiture of sixteen (16) real properties, including the waterfront residences of Sergio
Pantoja in Hallandale (Exhibit 1) and Guillermo de la Rosa in Pompano Beach (Exhibit 2), and two automotive businesses located in Plantation (Exhibit 3). It is alleged that the properties and businesses were used to facilitate drug trafficking activities and/or were purchased with proceeds of those illegal activities. Specifically, the Indictment seeks the forfeiture of the following properties and businesses:
(1) 448 Tamarind Drive, Hallandale, Florida;
(2) 740 SE 22 Avenue, Pompano Beach, Florida; nd
(3) 830 SW 12 Place, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; th
(4) 631 South State Road 7, Plantation, Florida;
(5) 671 South State Road 7, Plantation, Florida;
(6) 2706 NE 32 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; nd
(7) 2712 NE 32 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; nd
(8) 2500 NE 32 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; nd
Page 3 of 3
(9) 1114 NE 4 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; th
(10) 1110 NE 4 Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; th
(11) 8360 Pasadena Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Florida;
(12) 13379 SW 142 Terrace, Miami, Florida; ND
(13) 13700 SW 62 Street, Unit 142, Miami, Florida; nd
(14) 11061 NW 39 Street, Coral Springs, Florida 33065. th
(15) 1900 North Bayshore Drive, Unit 1504, Quantum of the Bay
Condominiums, Miami, Florida;
(16) 1900 North Bayshore Drive, Unit 1802, Quantum of the Bay
Condominiums, Miami, Florida;
(17) Imperial Marine, Inc.;
(18) American Automotive, Inc., d/b/a “Plantation Radiator,” f/k/a
“Plantation Tire & Auto Repairs, Inc.”; and
(19) Parkway to Marble and Granite, Inc., f/k/a “R & H Tile, Inc.”
The case was investigated in Tampa under the auspices of the Organized Crime
Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Panama Express, which is a multiagency task force involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF).
The United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida and the High
Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force in Ft. Lauderdale, which involves the
FBI, Ft. Lauderdale Police Department, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, FDLE, also
participated in the investigation and prosecution of this case.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation
of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.