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| Crime |

Police Arrest Little Havana Food Market Owners for Selling Cocaine From Store

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A few years ago, when the city was in the midst of a recession, a friend and I were out at a club in a not-quite-gentrified area, as young Miamians were apt to do at the time, when we stopped for some water and food at a random corner market. We were walking to the register just as a man in front of us was asking the clerk for candy and presented an amount of money that seemed too much for a single piece of candy. The clerk placed something in the man's hand and then realized we were standing there. He then awkwardly asked if we also wanted candy, to which we replied, "No, thanks." 

It quickly occurred to me that there was a 90 percent chance I had just witnessed a crack deal, and though it hadn't occurred to me that people might be selling drugs at random corner markets and bodegas in the more rundown areas of Miami, it was sad how much that business plan made sense. Of course, I was never sure that was an actual thing — until now. 

City of Miami Police announced the arrest of four people involved in selling drugs at the Crystal Supermarket on 405 NW 12th Ave. (Not the market where I might have witnessed a crack deal, but not too far away.)

Owners Juan Villalonga, 54, and Nerylis Bautista, 49, who are married, were among those arrested in the raid. They face charges of cocaine possession with intent to sell and cocaine trafficking. Villalonga also faces charges for possessing a firearm as a felon. 

After raiding the market yesterday, police found more than $10,000 worth of cocaine weighing 137.4 grams and two firearms. More than $18,000 cash was also discovered, which is a lot of cash to have on hand at a small market. 
Christina Trujillo, 26, and Irene Estrada, 24, were also arrested on charges of drug possession. Cocaine was found inside Trujilo's wallet, and hash oil was found in Estrada's purse. 

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