The Wire is widely considered one of the greatest television series of all time. David Simon's bleak depiction of Baltimore corruption was based upon his years as a crime reporter in that city.
So it's no surprise that a recent court case provides a near word-for-word, real-life re-enactment of the show's second season.
What is strange, however, is that elaborate cocaine-in-shipping-container conspiracy occurred not in Baltimore but here in South Florida.
If you're one of the three people in the U.S. who haven't yet watched The Wire, get over yourself. Harvard teaches an entire course on the series. The least you can do is rent the box set.
But just in case you're a Wire virgin (wirgin?), here's a quick explainer (spoiler alert!). The show is basically about drug dealing and corruption. Season 1 focuses on the street-level, as cops try to trace drug dealers back to their bosses.
Season 2, however, is about wholesale. It examines how massive shipments of cocaine, hookers, and other contraband make their way into Baltimore hidden inside containers brought to the port by cargo ships. Polish cousins Nick and Ziggy Subotka both work at the port and use their inside knowledge of the place to work their way up in the international drug trade.
Last week, federal judge K. Michael Moore sentenced two Miami men to prison for almost the exact same scheme.
Moore sentenced David Rodriguez, 47, of Miami, and Rogny Jerez Lopez, 35, of Hialeah, to 235 months and 87 months, respectively, for conspiring to ship hundreds of kilos of coke into the country.
According to court records, Jerez and another man, Carlos Hernandez Roque, worked for King Ocean Services, a shipping container company based out of Miami but also active at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Hernandez was a mechanic for large, refrigerated containers nicknamed "reefers."
As a toplift operator, Jerez was in charge of moving containers around the port. Rodriguez, who ran a drug cartel here in Miami, would give Jerez and Hernandez the serial number of certain containers that had been smuggled onto particular cargo ships in other countries.
Jerez would find the special reefers and either place them on trucks to be taken directly out of the port and to a drug warehouse to be unloaded (as in The Wire), or he would move container to a remote part of the port where he or Hernandez would pry open a small compartment and remove the 15-30 kilos of cocaine. From there, the coke would be split up and sold on the street by Rodriguez's criminal network.
Jerez made $2,500 per kilo unloaded (to be split with other dock workers who assisted him). That meant he made up $75,000 per shipment.
One of the drug warehouses was right next to Miami-Dade College's North Campus in Hialeah.
Also as in The Wire, the group used code words to hide their activity from cops. Rodriguez or one of his henchmen might tell a port employee that one of their containers was "by 12th avenue'' (for Dock 12) and that "there were 12 girls inside," meaning 12 kilos of coke.
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Eventually, however, Miami's own version of Jimmy McNulty caught on to the operation, intercepting drug shipments, replacing them with sham cocaine, and busting those involved.
As the capo, Rodriguez received 235 months in prison. Jerez was sentenced to 87.