Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, announced that Santiago Gonzalez, of Coral Springs, Florida, pled guilty today to one count of attempted distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Sentencing for Gonzalez, a former firefighter, has been scheduled for May 7, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. At sentencing, Gonzalez faces a maximum possible statutory penalty of up to life in prison for these charges.
As set forth in the plea agreement, law enforcement began investigating Gonzalez in August, 2012 about Gonzalez/s alleged participation in previous armed kidnappings and robberies. During the investigation, Gonzalez met with a confidential informant who was purporting to be a drug trafficker. At this meeting, Gonzalez offered to provide protective services for future drug transactions. Thereafter, Gonzalez provided “armed protection” on four different occasions: September 6, 2012, October 12, 2012, December 11, 2012, and January 24, 2013. After completing each transaction, Gonzalez was paid cash for his services.
Mr. Ferrer thanked the investigative efforts of ATF. He also thanked the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the North Miami Beach Police Department, the Coral Springs Police Department, and the Metro Broward HIDTA Task Force. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney L. Coker.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.