News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2008

Lengthy Sentence for Fort Pierce Marijuana Grow House Defendant

JUN 10 -- Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Miami Field Division, R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Chief John Skinner, Port St. Lucie Police Department, and Sheriff Ken Mascara, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, announced the June 9, 2008 sentencing of Anniel Gomez to 20 years’ imprisonment on Count 1 (conspiracy to maintain a place to manufacture or distribute marijuana) and to 30 years’ imprisonment on Count 2 (conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and dispense 100 or more marijuana plants), to run concurrently.

U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore also sentenced co-defendant Mercedes Miranda Gomez, the mother of co-defendants Anniel Gomez and Osniel Miranda, to 24 months’ imprisonment as to Counts 1 (conspiracy to maintain a place to manufacture or distribute marijuana) and 8 (conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and dispense 100 more marijuana plants) of the superseding indictment, to run concurrently, followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Beginning on May 11, 2007, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office discovered five active marijuana grow houses in Fort Pierce. Documents found at the search of one of these homes led the Port St. Lucie Police Department to another location, where they discovered the charred body of Jesus Miranda and a marijuana growing operation. According to the evidence, all the grow houses were similarly set up and were operated by family members of defendant Anniel Gomez.

The evidence established that defendant Anniel Gomez stabbed Jesus Miranda during a fight over a $5,000 debt. Co-defendant Osniel Gomez was present when the stabbing occurred and assisted his brother in cleaning up the murder scene, removing evidence and moving the body. Based on the testimony of two co-defendants during the sentencing, Judge Moore found that Anniel Gomez was responsible for the death of Jesus Miranda and that the government had established that the murder was second degree murder.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, and the Port St. Lucie Police Department.