Columns

Carlos Gimenez, Rebeca Sosa and David Rivera Shower Favors On Ex-Cocaine Trafficker (Updated)

On July 13, Alexander I. Perez stood underneath a new street sign christening a

portion of SE 10th Avenue in front of his Hialeah warehouse as "Banah Sweet Way." A gaggle of local politicos -- including Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, his Hialeah counterpart Carlos Hernandez, and County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa -- huddled around the owner of Banah International Group, a sugar-making company that boasts it will create 300 jobs in La Ciudad Que Progresa.


In addition to the street renaming, Perez's company has also received $400,000 in state and county tax breaks thanks to Gimenez, Hernandez, and Sosa. 

The occasion capped a sweet turnaround for Perez, a 48-year-old Cuban American who was released from federal prison in 2007 after serving four years for moving a different type of ingestible white substance: cocaine.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.