It's already been a busy week for the drug that made Miami -- or at least for the feds' perpetual war on the white stuff. First, the DEA arrested 10 people, mostly from Miami and Hialeah, and charged them with organizing a ring shuttling coke from Juarez to South Florida.
Then came word that a much bigger fish will appear in Miami court this afternoon. Jaime Alberto Marin-Zamora, known as "Beto Marin" in the underworld, allegedly led Colombia's notorious North Valley cartel before he was nabbed in Venezuela last week.
Beto Marin was arrested on Sept. 16 by Venezuelan police on the resort Margarita Island. He'd already been indicted last year in federal court on charges of trying to import "thousands of kilos of cocaine" into South Florida.
Venezuela deported the man yesterday, and today he'll face a federal judge downtown.
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His group, known in Colombia as the Norte del Valle Cartel, muscled into the head of cocaine trafficking after Pablo Escobar's downfall. Before Beto Marin took over, it was run by shadowy lords with ominous nicknames including "Lollipop," "The Amputee," and "the Overall Man," and tied to funding narco-terrorist groups around the region.
The other case, meanwhile, came out of a long-running DEA sting, says Annette Castillo, a spokeswoman for the Southern District of Florida.
The ten defendants --Michel De La Osa, Ariel Amaro and Ramon Gonzalez and Irenardo Labarte all of the Miami area; Yoan Diaz of Plantation; Fernando Hernandez of Hialeah Gardens; and Nivio Chaple, Jose Reigosa, Adonis Reigosa-Lorente, and Mario Lastre, all of Hialeah -- were booked yesterday and face felony charges of intent to distribute cocaine.
While busting up the ring, federal agents have seized $1.5 million in cash and jewelry, 25 kilos of coke, and an armada of luxury cars, according to the indictment.