Police made quite the discovery when raiding a home in Miami Lakes on Tuesday: over $24 million from a suspected marijuana trafficker, the largest money seizure in the department's history.
Authorities found the money stuffed in dozens of five-gallon buckets located in a hidden attic compartment inside the home, located off Northwest 169th Terrace and 77th Path.
Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez, 44, was taken into custody on several drug and firearms charges stemming from an investigation by the Miami-Dade police and the Drug Enforcement Agency. His sister, Salma Hernandez, 32, was also arrested.
Both siblings appeared in court Wednesday, with Hernandez-Gonzalez ordered held on more than $4 million bond. His sister was given a $12,500 bond, and her defense attorney said she expects to be released Thursday.
Police said Hernandez-Gonzalez, who runs The Blossom Experience store in Miami-Dade, was involved in trafficking marijuana to Tennessee along with two other men. He had been the target of an investigation dating back to 2010, speaking with informants about the drug trade, according to police.
The store’s website proclaims its expertise in indoor gardening needs and lists items including lights and fans. The business was raided as part of the operation, with officers finding drugs and $180,000 in a safe.
Hernandez-Gonzalez was recorded on various phone calls giving advice on how to care for the plants. After his arrest, Hernandez-Gonzalez allegedly admitted to helping customers grow the drug.
Authorities said Salma Hernandez works at the shop with her brother.
Information on attorneys for the two was not immediately available.