Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security today announced the arrests of two more members of a large drug-trafficking organization in Miami. The organization operated primarily in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
Nereida Milagros Ortiz Almonte, 50, and her daughter-in-law, Ashley Alexandra Laguna, 19, both from Miramar, continued the illicit activities of the drug ring, following the arrest of Raúl Ponce, Jr.,18, Ortiz Almonte’s son and Laguna’s husband. Investigators now believe Almonte and Laguna sought to collect drug debts and transport stolen narcotics and a firearm on behalf of Ponce and the larger organization.
These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation of more than 50 pharmacy burglaries committed since summer 2015. According to the investigation, masked and gloved suspects, carrying a large yellow crowbar, gym-bags and backpacks, broke into these drug stores after hours. The suspects then allegedly broke into pharmaceutical storage lockers and removed large quantities of controlled drugs, such as hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, promethazine with codeine syrup and other narcotics. The suspects took no more than a few minutes to complete the crimes, fleeing before law enforcement could respond to alarms.
Other members of the organization previously arrested include:
· Harrison Garcia, 27, Hialeah;
· Alonzo Hinson, 26, Opa Locka;
· Jonluis Labadie, 19, Miami;
· Joanky Labadie, 19, Miami;
· Darrish Bernard Martin, 26, Miami;
· Bryan Pitter, 28, Miramar; and
· Chantelle Ponce, 23, Miramar.
The defendants connected to this case face charges ranging from racketeering and weapons charges to burglary and drug-trafficking. For more information about the previous arrests, click here.
Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the defendants in the Broward County Circuit Court.