South Florida is seeing an uptick in one drug that’s pure, cheap and dangerous.
Only NBC 6 was in Miami Beach after a Drug Enforcement Administration raid that targeted alleged dealers pushing crystal meth throughout the area.
Our cameras recorded law enforcement arresting four people authorities say are connected to a South Florida meth ring with ties to the Mexican cartel.
“These individuals were very active distributing multi pounds of meth on a regular basis into the areas," Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis of the DEA Miami Field Division said.
The raid happened in the middle of the day Tuesday. The DEA Field Division Special Response Team raided an apartment identified as a stash house, which is located just east of the Miami Beach Convention Center near Collins Avenue.
The DEA is the lead in the case in a multi-agency collaboration with the ATF, the police departments of Miami, Sunny Isles Beach, Homestead, Sweetwater, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
“Every operation has significant risk," Weis said. "In this instance, we’re dealing with drug traffickers and a very valuable product. There's a level of violence that can be associated with the way they operate."
Our redesigned local news and weather app is live! Download it for iOS or Android — and sign up for alerts.
Lerianey Marino, Jorge Torres and Andro Garrido were charged and identified as a part of a drug trafficking organization, according to affidavits obtained by NBC 6. A fourth unidentified person was also arrested at the scene but was not included in the documents.
The latest case comes after a nationwide increase of Mexican-sourced meth coming into the U.S. and shipped to Florida.
"We've seen it from Pensacola all the way down to Key West," Weis said. "So we’re real keen on getting to the sources of meth."
Court records reveal an undercover officer bought crystal meth from Marino four times since September. Marino allegedly worked with Torres and Garrido in buying and distributing nearly a pound of meth worth more than $12,000.
A lot of drugs — at a cheap price — makes a dangerous combination, according to the DEA.
“We think these numbers have increased," Weis said. "We know for sure they’ll go up this year and were largely ignored because of the situation that evolved around the pandemic."
The ATF Miami Field Office Enforcement Agents monitored the perimeter while the DEA SRT, and Miami Field Division entered and cleared the target location.