Pubdate: Wed, 14 Jun 2006
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2006 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Derek Simmonsen, (Asset Forfeiture)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have  not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public  figures or officials.


FORT PIERCE -- The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office is seeking more 
than $45,000 in cash seized from one alleged member of a Treasure 
Coast cocaine trafficking ring.

Papers were filed in circuit court Tuesday to gain the funds, which 
were found in a car driven by [Name redacted], 29, of Fort Pierce. He 
is one of 13 people indicted last week in connection with a ring 
accused of funneling multiple kilograms of cocaine into Fort Pierce.

[Name redacted], 27, of Stuart, is accused of leading the 
organization while [Name redacted], 34, of Port St. Lucie, is accused 
of supplying cocaine to his group. [Name redacted] and seven people 
accused of working under him were charged last week in a 10-count 
indictment and could face maximum penalties of life in prison on some 
of the charges.

[Name redacted] and four other people accused of working with him 
were charged in a separate five-count indictment delivered last 
Thursday. They also could face maximum penalties of life in prison on 
the charges.

In addition, authorities are seeking to seize $134,278 in cash and a 
2004 BMW from [Name redacted] and his associates and about $13,000 in 
cash from [Name redacted] and others connected to him, according to 
the indictments.

[Name redacted] was stopped by sheriff's deputies on May 16 and a 
police K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs in his car, according to 
the forfeiture complaint. Deputies found a bag with a shoe box filled 
with cash inside, as well as a marijuana pipe with residue.

[Name redacted] said the money was for his lawn business, a story 
that [Name redacted]'s sister confirmed when she arrived at the 
scene. While they said they planned to buy three lawnmowers with the 
cash, the sheriff's office alleges the money was tied to drug sales 
and the agency plans to present testimony to back up the assertion.

While he faced charges in circuit court related to the traffic stop, 
[Name redacted] was later arrested in early June on federal drug 
charges and was accused of working under [Name redacted]. Based on 
his past criminal record, he could face a mandatory life sentence if 
convicted at trial.

All of those charged so far remain in federal custody while their 
cases are pending.

* Thirteen people accused of being part of a Treasure Coast cocaine 
trafficking ring were indicted last week.

* [Name redacted], 27, of Stuart is accused of running the group 
while [Name redacted], 34, of Port St. Lucie is accused of supplying 
him with drugs.

* The organization is accused of bringing multiple kilograms of 
cocaine into Fort Pierce each month and using members of the 13th 
Street Gang to sell the drugs.

* The sheriff's office filed papers in circuit court Tuesday to seize 
more than $45,000 in cash from one of the group's alleged members, in 
addition to more than $145,000 authorities are attempting to gain 
through federal forfeiture proceedings.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman