Bosco Enriquez was 100 miles from home this past May in a shower at the Glades County Detention Center — a dusty immigration prison at a crossroads to nowhere — when a husky detainee suddenly kneed him in the groin. Another man shoved the skinny 30-year-old, spun him around, and pushed him to the ground. The attackers pulled Enriquez's underwear to his knees.
One of the men pinned his arms. The other violated him. He screamed. No one heard.
"I'd been crying," Enriquez recalls. "I guess they saw it as weakness."
Several days later, he described the attack to a Spanish-speaking guard.
"Was there a witness?" he asked.
"Nobody saw it," said Enriquez.
"No hay nada que hacer."
Enriquez remained at Glades for about a month. After the crime, he told no one else. He didn't think anyone would believe him. "I couldn't sleep for weeks," he recalls now, with tears, over a hazy phone line. "The guy who did that to me was two bunks over. To this day, I can't sleep sometimes. It haunts me."
Enriquez's story begins and ends in Nicaragua, where he was exiled this past June. Though he had cooperated with Miami police to bust as many as 30 gang members — including leaders of the infamous International Posse — authorities allowed him to be beaten, raped, and exiled to the country of his birth with barely a mention of his service. His crime: a guilty plea to possessing traces of cocaine, a third-degree felony that required two days in jail. It resulted from a long-ago drug habit that started when police employed him to make a drug buy.
Bosco came to Miami with his family at age 4 and did well in American school, but a decade later, he fell in with the INP, then the area's most feared gang. That was in the late '90s. His nose was broken with a baseball bat in a brawl off Douglas Road. Then police raided his home. Barely 15 years old, he'd had enough, so he phoned a ponytailed officer named Gadyaces Serralta for help; the veteran cop, in turn, recruited the teenage gangbanger to become a snitch.
At first, Serralta, who along with his bosses declined to respond to written questions from New Times, seemed the right guy to call. His name, he explained, was short for "Gloria a Dios y a Cristo el Salvador." (Glory to God and to Christ the Savior). A sympathetic, obviously intelligent guy, he offered help if Bosco would spill on the gang.
"I wanted to be a cop and he led me along," Enriquez says. "I was a dumb kid with a big mouth. He became my hero."
Serralta is now a $120,000 per year lieutenant with 29 commendations for everything from investigative skills to dedication to duty on his record. But back then, according to court documents, he was an undercover soldier on a "gang strike force" that gathered intelligence on young thugs terrorizing cities across America. For six years, he had cultivated informants like a spy in the hood. (Later, he would be chastised not for his dealings with gangs, but with politics.)
The International Posse was one of the most dangerous pandillas in America during that era, he explained to an attorney in a 1997 deposition. With about 10 chapters nationwide from Miami to New York to Killeen, Texas, the group was involved in murder, drug sales, and more.
It had Mafia-like qualities. There was a core document, "the International Posse bible," which defined how members should show respect for one another and discipline should be enforced. "They beat you bad when you go in," Serralta testified. "And when you get out of a gang they beat you... and I mean they beat you hard."
One of Serralta's main targets in the winter and spring of 1996 was a brutal 22-year-old tough guy named Anastacio Villanueva, "Chi Chi" for short, who had recently taken over the Kendall branch of INP after leaving jail. He was only 5'6" but weighed a hefty 210 pounds, mostly muscle. Serralta decided Enriquez would help bring him down.
Villanueva's record is a frightening mix of death threats, violence, and lunacy. At age 16, he held up a Farm Store clerk with a shotgun, then served 18 months in jail. Three years later, he returned to jail on a burglary charge. And he once shot up the house of a former girlfriend. In that incident, a "small infant," barely walking, was nearly hit, according to police records. On the phone, Villanueva allegedly said to his ex, "I swear on my baby's life that you and your family are going to die."
When he took over the Kendall chapter of the INP, it included about 50 members. Bosco Enriquez was among the youngest. "Anastacio didn't like me," Enriquez says. "I wouldn't follow his orders."
Then on a Kendall basketball court one day, Villanueva offered Enriquez an "eight ball" of cocaine. Enriquez dutifully reported back to Serralta, who would drive him around in a car with shaded windows as he passed intelligence. "He played on my ego," Enriquez says now. "He told me, 'You are so cool.'"
A few days later, Serralta met Bosco at a Texaco station and planted a transmitter in his pants. ("That way, they wouldn't find it if you were forced to take your shirt off," he says). He sent him, with $150, to make a buy. Agents from both the FBI and FDLE watched as Enriquez paid $130 for 6.5 grams.
When Enriquez left, he returned to the Texaco, where agents took the cocaine and the microphone, court records show.
Villanueva got off easy after Bosco refused to testify. "I told them I wouldn't talk in court," he says. "That could have gotten my family and me killed."
Another arrest that did stick was that of Leonardo Davinci Gage, who, police would later disclose, ran the INP operation in all of South Florida. Like Villanueva, he had a record replete with aggravated assault and armed robbery convictions. In one 1992 case, he had hit a victim with a bat and stolen a bike and jewelry. Later, he was nailed as part of a massive carjacking ring.
On February 28, 1996, Enriquez paid $200 to Gage, who was sitting in a red Buick Regal at SW 137th Avenue and 56th Street. As police looked on, Gage handed over the drugs, then told his 15-year-old customer he would "do better" next time.
"I was terrified," Enriquez says now. "This was a violent guy and I was a 15-year-old kid."
Police intelligence reports from that purchase show they lost sight of Enriquez for some time. The boy recalls taking several rocks and inserting them into his sock. Later, he turned over just a portion of the drugs to Serralta, keeping some for himself. "I put the rocks in a cigarette and I smoked them," he recalls. "Then I got hooked."
Gage was sentenced to 47 days and had to pay $451 in court fees. That set him up, though, for a bigger bust to come.
On August 28, 1997, cops fanned out across Dade County and concluded "Operation Pitbull." They arrested 16 members of the INP including Gage and Chi Chi Villanueva. Charges ranged from soliciting murder to armed carjacking and drug sales. "No longer are these individuals on our streets, terrorizing and abusing our law-abiding citizens," crowed then-Mayor Alex Penelas. It was the third gang sweep in three months in South Florida, and effectively ended an era. It couldn't have happened without Enriquez help.
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In his deposition, Serralta said his 15-year-old snitch had worked 20 to 30 cases, approximately 18 of them INP-related. He had received about $150 total, but mostly did it for "self-satisfaction... He's always given me reliable information and I do mean always. He's the only informant who has given me reliable information every time."