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Second suspect indicted in key largo cocaine smuggling enterprise

October 19, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Second suspect indicted in key largo cocaine smuggling enterprise

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Late last week, a grand jury indictment charged a second suspect in connection with a cocaine smuggling enterprise that resulted in an on-water boat pursuit and a house-to-house manhunt in Key Largo, Florida last summer.

Carlos Leopoldo Alvarez has been charged with importing and dealing cocaine, along with conspiracy to import and sell the drug. All four charges carry a sentence of life behind bars. The 29-year-old owns a Grady White boat that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents alleged transported 32 kilos of the drug from the Bahamas to Key Largo, Florida back in July.

The indictment accused the members of the cocaine smuggling enterprise of transporting the drugs to a flats skiff. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents pursued the boat, and during the chase, the boat crew abandoned the drugs into a bunch of mangroves.

The crew on the Grady White, meanwhile, anchored the boat behind a residence in Key Largo. After a short foot chase, agents apprehended Mario Brand, who claimed he was contracted for $14,000 to be the boat’s mechanic to the Bahamas and on the trip back to Florida.

Agents have arrested two others, sources reveal, but up until October 14th, Brand was the only suspect linked to the case in the federal court system, The Flordia Key News reported.

Brand, a Miami native, was released from custody in September after he posted 10% of his $100,000 bond. On July 22nd, U.S. District Court Judge Lurana Snow ordered him to be held without bond until his trial, but she relinquished her position on the matter in September.

The grand jury charged Alvarez on October 14th, and it is not clear if he has been taken into custody.

Florida Department of State records indicates that Alvarez has been the president of a company called Deluxe Home Investment Corp. since 2011. The business filed a Florida profit corporation reinstatement under a new president on July 16th.

Brand’s trial is set to begin on October 31st with U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore at the Key West federal courthouse.

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