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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 16, 2020

Miami-Dade Resident Charged Federally for Importing Cocaine into Key Largo

Today, a federal grand jury indicted a Miami-Dade resident with importing cocaine into Key Largo, Florida.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of Florida, Zinnia P. James, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS), Southeast Region, made the announcement

Elio Diaz Hernandez, 55, of Miami, was arrested on January 3, 2020 and initially charged by criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine (Case No. 20-mj-05001).  U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow is scheduled to arraign Diaz Hernandez on the federal indictment in Key West tomorrow, January 17, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. (Case No. 20-CR-10003-MOORE).

According to allegations in the court record, Diaz Hernandez was operating his boat at night without navigation lights, on the waters east of Key Largo.  The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Charles Sexton was also in the area and launched a pursuit boat with law enforcement officers to investigate.  As the U.S. Coast Guard boat approached, Diaz Hernandez threw a bag into the water and attempted to flee.  After a brief chase, the officers were able to stop Diaz Hernandez.

The officers recovered the bag Diaz Hernandez threw into the water.  Inside the bag were fifteen packages that contained a substance which field tested positive for cocaine.  The approximate combined weight of the packages is thirty-six pounds.

If convicted of the charged offense, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison.

A criminal complaint and indictment are charging documents that contain allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian Sattler.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated January 16, 2020