Two brothers from West Palm Beach are charged in a cocaine operation that authorities say came from South America, then went through the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico, and ultimately here to South Florida.
In Puerto Rico, the drugs were placed inside toys and then mailed to Florida, where they were sold in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties.
The drug ring involved 43-year-old Guillermo Parodi-Vargas and his brother, 41-year-old Maikel Parodi-Vargas. Both were booked on Tuesday into the Palm Beach County Jail on trafficking, possession and attempted trafficking charges.
The brothers had been detained, but not yet charged, during a Jan. 17 raid on their apartment by a task force that was comprised of the Palm Beach and Broward county sheriff’s offices, as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
A third man, 23-year-old Shaquille Oneal Hernandez-Ruiz, who was allegedly part of the operation, was jailed on Jan. 31 in an alleged drug deal in Royal Palm Beach. He is still at the county’s Belle Glade jail annex on $58,000 bond.
The report says Guillermo Parodi-Vargas and Hernandez-Ruiz had been major marijuana distributors for years, but had recently switched to cocaine.
In two separate buys in October of last year outside a gym in northern Broward County, an undercover agent paid Guillermo Parodi-Vargas and Hernandez-Ruiz for powder cocaine, some of which was in a plastic bag hidden in a toy car, according to the report.
The pair offered to sell the agent one-kilogram bricks of cocaine for $32,000 each.
Later, the agents made a deal to buy a half-brick for $17,250. However, the group said their supplier, in Sebring, would not have a shipment for several days.
Guillermo and Hernandez-Ruiz also reportedly told the agent in calls and texts that they no longer trusted each other and that they would be ending their partnership.
Hernandez-Ruiz later told the agent that he was working with a new broker, and asked the agent to drive to Orlando, in order to buy a full brick for $32,000.
Meanwhile, Guillermo Parodi-Vargas said the agent’s half-kilogram brick had arrived, and arranged to meet him on Jan. 17 at the apartment the Parodi-Vargas brothers shared on Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.
The regional task force agents detained Guillermo and his brother Maikel at the apartment.
Agents ultimately seized 13 grams of cocaine and nine grams of heroin, along with a handgun, two automatic rifles, gun parts, bullets, and $10,970.
The report states that photos and videos on Guillermo’s cell phone show him and his brother packing cocaine.
Guillermo is charged with two counts of trafficking in cocaine of 28 grams or more; one count of attempted trafficking in cocaine of 28 grams or more while armed; possession of cocaine and methamphetamine, and unlawful use of a communications device, a charge related to using a cellphone to set up drug deals.
Maikel has been charged with attempted trafficking in cocaine of 28 grams or more.
Each remained in jail on Wednesday morning on no bond.
In addition, Hernandez-Ruiz is charged with cocaine trafficking of 200 to 400 grams and possession of heroin, oxycodone and drug paraphernalia.
He and two other men, Christopher Dwain Desadier and Jovan Biggs, were booked into the jail on Jan. 31, after authorities alleged the trio sold an undercover agent 255 grams of powder cocaine for $6,150 in the parking lot of the Walmart on Belvedere Road in Royal Palm Beach.
Reports do not reflect whether the Jan. 31 incident is related to the Parodi-Vargas operation, or if Desadier or Biggs are accused of also being part of the group.