Attention, modern criminals and/or wayward offspring of public officials: We know that you, like all of us, are pressed for time. And sometimes it's so much easier to send a text than to meet on a misty loading dock under the cover of night.
But we still advise you against sending a text message reading, "Will u strangle Iceberg 4 me 4 $50k? ;)"
Such a message is at the heart of a federal racketeering and attempted murder case against three bumbling defendants who, if the charges against them are true, deserve their own Coen brothers flick.
Full disclosure: We don't know the exact wording of the alleged text message. And we're only guessing that the drug dealer targeted for murder was named Iceberg.
According to federal prosecutors, 20-year-old Daniel Perez -- son of City of North Miami finance director Carlos M. Perez -- and 22-year-old Christian Pereira owed $25,000 to Iceberg, an weed-peddling aspiring Scarface living in an unremarkable house on SW 25th Avenue.
They didn't want to pay the debt, especially because Christian believed the dealer had previously robbed him and his girlfriend, 21-year-old Sophie Perlmutter.
In mid-July, the two cronies and the girlfriend allegedly hatched a much preferable plan: Tell Iceberg they were coming over with the money. But hold him at gunpoint and choke him instead. Also, steal cash and drugs from his home and a Brickell stash house.
So they texted a buddy, who we can only assume is named Pink Eye. "Specifically," reads the wonderfully droll federal complaint, "the message asked if [Pink Eye] would be willing to strangle the targeted victim." In continuing negotiations, they offered him $50,000, plus a possible cut of whatever they stole.
Pink Eye went immediately to Miami-Dade Police -- who would ultimately go to the feds with the case -- and showed a detective the text message. They put a wire on him and sent him back out to continue the plot. On a recent Thursday morning, Christian, his girlfriend, and a miked-up Pink Eye were on their way to the job -- giddily discussing all the weed and money they were going to score, according to police -- when cops pulled them over.
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The public official's son, Daniel, was approached by police at a Publix on his way to Iceberg's house. He led cops on a foot chase but was eventually tackled while trying to toss his cell phone down a drain.
In the two vehicles, cops found a pistol, a rope, a tarp, plastic gloves, cleaning chemicals, Xanax, Ecstasy, weed, and lots of money.
Damning evidence? Not if the defendants were really just a bunch of clean freaks with a healthy distrust of banks, playing a life-size game of Clue on their way to a rave. Since none of their attorneys returned our calls, we're going to go with that explanation.