Photos and VideosMore Photos and Videos
Monroe County Sheriff's Office
This is the front of the Soca family compound that authorities said they busted Wednesday night.
Authorities busted a Florida Keys family’s “criminal operation” as they arrested three men – seizing 8 kilos of cocaine, over $75,000 in cash and even some 500 undersized lobster tails, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Juan Soca Sr., 63, Juan Soca Jr., 42, and Jose Soca, 38, were arrested Wednesday night at their family compound of two side-by-side trailers at 6451 6th St. on Stock Island, the sheriff’s office said in its daily crime report. The island is next to Key West.
Authorities obtained search warrants for the property after Soca Jr. sold 1.5 ounces of cocaine to an undercover law enforcement operative on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said.
About 2,100 Xanax bars, approximately 580 Oxycodone pills and a crack cocaine cookie weighing 7 grams were all seized in the search, which went late into the night before resuming Thursday morning. Detectives found drugs and money buried in the ground, hidden in false electrical boxes and concealed compartments, and even in a boat fender nailed to a fence that looked like a decoration, the sheriff’s office said.
“This is not the first time we have served drug-related search warrants on the Soca property,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said. “But we are going to do everything we can to make sure it is the last. The drug activity by these members of the Soca family is a danger to everyone in our county. The detectives who worked on this case – from multiple agencies – did an outstanding job of stopping these criminals from their ongoing efforts to distribute large amounts of illegal narcotics. This operation will really make a dent in the drug activity in our community.”
Special weapons and tactics teams from the sheriff’s office and Key West Police went into the trailers simultaneously Wednesday evening, and Soca Sr. and Jose Soca were on the property at the time, authorities said. Soca Jr. was picked up soon afterward at an apartment building on South Roosevelt Boulevard. He had about 300 Oxycodone pills in his possession when he was arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
On the property Jose Soca occupied, detectives found 14 bags of frozen lobster tails – with 90 percent of the tails, or about 500 of them, undersized, the sheriff’s office said. Soca does possess a commercial fishing license for crawfish, sponge, stone crash and restricted species, the sheriff’s office added.
All three men face charges of cocaine trafficking, and Jose Soca also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of the undersized lobster tails, the sheriff’s office said. Meantime, Soca Jr. faces additional charges tied to the drugs he had on him when he was arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.
More charges are pending, detectives said.
It wasn’t immediately known whether the Socas have attorneys.