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Brother-in-law of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio revealed to be a convicted drug trafficker

December 13, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Brother-in-law of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio revealed to be a convicted drug trafficker

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According to the Washington Post, the brother-in-law of Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio was a ‘front man’ for an illicit multi-million dollar cocaine-smuggling ring headed by a drug kingpin who ran the operation from an exotic animal sanctuary.

Orlando Cicilia was arrested for his involvement in one of the biggest drug-trafficking cases in 1987, at the height of Miami’s Cocaine Cowboys era when Rubio was just 16 years-old.

Cicilia, 58, served just 12 years in prison despite being sentenced to 35 for his part in the scheme and now works as a real estate agent. During his prison bid, Rubio launched his political career in Florida.

Rubio’s brother-in-law was released four days after Rubio stormed into the political spotlight following his 2000 re-election to the House of Representatives.

Rubio does not mention his brother-in-law’s criminal past. In his 2012 memoir, he said Cicilia was involved in a criminal enterprise, but wouldn’t elaborate.

Cicilia organized the shipments and coordinated with buyers, enabling the gang to move half a million pounds of marijuana and 200 pounds of cocaine between 1976 and 1986, the Washington Post reported.

The head of the ring was Mario Tabraue, an eccentric man who kept leopards in the grounds of his mansion, which was given the nickname ‘Playboy Mansion’ by federal agents.

He flourished when Miami was the United States’ capital of cocaine. According to documents seen by the Post, he ran a ruthless enterprise where dealers would walk around with guns in their suitcases.

Orlando Cicilia (pictured at brother-in-law Marco Rubio's election party in Florida in November 2010) was the 'front man' for a multi-million dollar cocaine-smuggling ring

Orlando Cicilia (pictured at brother-in-law Marco Rubio’s election party in Florida in November 2010) was the ‘front man’ for a multi-million dollar cocaine-smuggling ring

Some members were accused of killing Larry Nash, an undercover informant for what was then the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in 1980.

Prosecutors believe some members disposed of his body by dismembering it with a circular saw and burning it in a horse trough filled with charcoal.

In 1989, Tabraue’s success crumbled when he was found guilty of 61 counts of racketeering and sentenced to 100 years in prison.

When federal agents arrested him they found four safes in his mansion which held an Uzi and a MAC-10 submachine pistol.

His wife also tried to throw away $50,000 in cash when he was arrested.

After 12 years he was released. He is now married still keeps his exotic animals in a sanctuary.
Cicilia, according to interviews and court records, referred to cocaine as a ‘pretty thing’ and would walk around in paisley suits.

Delbert Woodburn, a Miami-Dade narcotics detective, told the Post: “It was a very large operation. Planes from Colombia were coming into the Bahamas and the Keys, landing at small airports, dropping drugs into the Everglades.”

Like Rubio’s family, Cicilia also immigrated from Cuba to the United States. In the 1970s he started dating Barbara Rubio while they were at a Miami high school together.

The families became intertwined because of their heritage and would often celebrate the holidays together.

n 1983, Cicilia joined Tabraue’s operation. He flourished on the scene, donning sunglasses and wearing his paisley suit sleeves rolled up.

The head of the ring was Mario Tabraue, an eccentric man who kept leopards in the grounds of his mansion, which was given the nickname 'Playboy Mansion' by federal agents. Pictured today, he still runs an animal sanctuary in Florida

The head of the ring was Mario Tabraue, an eccentric man who kept leopards in the grounds of his mansion, which was given the nickname ‘Playboy Mansion’ by federal agents. Pictured today, he still runs an animal sanctuary in Florida

Larry A. Loveless, the lead DEA agent in the investigation into the racket, said in a recent interview that it looked like he has just walked off the set of Miami Vice.

Michael Fisten, a homicide detective who worked on the case and is writing a book about it, told the Post: ‘Mario was the kingpin, and Orlando was his second in command. He always had large amounts of cash on him.’

He was based out of Tabraue’s business in southwest Miami, Zoological Imports Unlimited, which DEA agents called ‘the pet store’, where he kept a giraffe, a cheetah and rare birds.
A young Rubio would often do work at Cicilia’s house, such as washing their dogs and building animal cages, so he could get tickets to see his beloved Dolphins.

It was the same house that was put under surveillance in the build-up to Cicilia’s arrest.
Rubio’s spokesman, Todd Harris, told the Post Rubio “was just 16 at the time of the arrest and views this as a private family matter involving events that occurred almost 30 years ago.”

The candidate denied the chance to be interviewed. He also denied helping his brother get an early release from prison. Rubio was not involved in Cicilia’s wrongdoing.

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