In small towns or suburbs, it can often feel like everybody knows everybody else’s business. When your houses are that close to each other, it makes sense that you’d see and hear the goings-on next door.
However, no matter how close you live to someone, you can never know for certain what’s really happening behind closed doors. What might seem totally normal to you could be their attempt to hide something shady.
When members in one Florida community starting to spread gossip about a few of the other homeowners, no one knew what the truth really was. Then the police got involved…
Gossip is common in communities, and that was certainly the case in one Miami, Florida, suburb. People were always talking, and it seemed like most of the gossip making the rounds was about one area in particular: Southwest 220 Street.
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The people living in the community weren’t the only ones who had a bad feeling about all of the suspicious comings and goings in the Southwest 220 Street area, either. The local police also had their eyes open, waiting for the first sign of illegal activity.
All of their waiting and watching paid off. During a raid of a house in the area, they gained probable cause to search the property that was thought to be the center of all the gossip in town: 12485 Southwest 220 Street. It was time to see what was going on behind its doors…
The police planned a surprise raid of the house in question. They burst in unannounced and were shocked to find… well… nothing much out of the ordinary. The place might have been a little messy, but what family’s house wasn’t? The police were convinced that there was more to uncover.
The officers began a careful search of the entire house. Inside the master bedroom they noticed a crib that seemed to be in an odd place. When they moved it out of the way, they found something that sent off alarm bells: it was a secret trap door.
The officers carefully entered the secret passage covered by the trap door. It led into a basement room that was full of drying marijuana plants and chemicals used to help the plants grow. This investigation was certainly getting interesting!
The officers estimated that the house contained $108,000 worth of drugs and drug paraphernalia, but the story was far from over. While the police were packing up and getting ready to leave the neighborhood, they received a tip about another suspicious house on the same street…
The house in question belonged to a quiet family of four. Yamile Gongar, 38, lived with her boyfriend, Luis Gonzalez, 41. They had two daughters aged eight and 17. On the surface, they were a picture-perfect family, but that surface wasn’t too deep…
Although this family lived just down the street from the site of the drug raid, they were conducting their own illegal activity all along. Rumor had it that this family was operating an illegal drug grow house beneath their property.
The police conducted a thorough investigation of the family’s home, but unlike the first raid, they couldn’t find evidence that anything illegal was happening. Then, they started searching the back yard. That’s when they noticed that the outdoor pool was upside-down…
Suspicious, the police looked underneath the pool, and discovered that it was covering up an underground lab! The only way to actually enter this illegal space was through a secret doorway hidden inside of a shed.
Once underground, investigators uncovered a hydroponic marijuana growing operation. However, it wasn’t the hidden illegal drugs that truly terrified the police. They quickly noticed that the slap-dash electrical work that was done to power the lab was rife with dangerously exposed wires!
While the brains behind this operation were smart enough to hire a backhoe to dig out a space for their lab, they clearly didn’t have a mastery of electrical engineering. The police said that the entire thing was one spark away from turning into a deadly catastrophe.
One of the most shocking discoveries that the police made during the raid was that this makeshift electrical system ran out of the hidden grow house… and directly into the family’s main power supply! How could no one have noticed this?
However obvious the signs were to the police, the family’s neighbors pled innocence. They said that when the backhoe showed up, they assumed that the family was having a pool installed. To their credit, it was not an uncommon thing in this part of the country.
The police who made the bust knew better than to believe all of the neighbors who claimed ignorance. Still, they were satisfied with the knowledge that they finally caught these criminals!
Between both houses that were raided, the police confiscated $350,000 worth of marijuana. This came in the form of 30 pot plants and 100 pounds of weed. Just think about all of the drugs they kept off the streets!
The children in the second house were sent to live with relatives, while all of the suspects were held because they couldn’t afford to pay the $25,000 bond. Although the police considered this a success, they also issued a statement about how poorly the neighbors helped in terms of the investigation.
The police initially suspected that, since the houses were located so close to each other, they must’ve been connected and part of a larger drug ring. However, without evidence—or a warrant—they were forced to accept that they couldn’t investigate everything on the block.
While the weed operations taking place in both locations weren’t associated with each other, the police did confirm that the design of the two labs was too similar to be a coincidence. Clearly, they were built by the same mysterious drug lab construction specialist!
The suburbs of Miami seem to be a hotbed for illegal marijuana grow houses. Another home that was raided was that of siblings Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez, 44, and his sister Salma Hernandez, 32. They lived in a mini-mansion in Miami Lakes, but there was a reason they could afford to live so high on the hog…
It turned out that Hernandez-Gonzalez owned a gardening store in Miami called The Blossom Experience, though this shop was just a cover for his real operation: selling marijuana that he grew in his home. When the police raided the mansion, they found hundreds of the plants.
While conducting their search of the home, they also discovered a false wall. When they removed the wall, they realized that it was hiding dozens of orange paint buckets. Inside each of these buckets was $150,000 in cash.
The money wasn’t the only surprise waiting for them behind the false wall, either. The police also found several semi-automatic weapons—weapons that very easily could have been turned against them if the residents of the house had gotten wise to the bust.
The silbings behind this operation were both arrested, with their bond set at $10 million. Police estimated that about $24 million in cash was hidden inside of their home. Hernandez-Gonzalez alone was charged with money laundering, marijuana trafficking, and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. It just goes to show you that crime doesn’t pay!
Can you believe that one tiny suburb could be home to so much illegal drug activity? It’s crazy to think about what could be going on even in the house right next door.
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