Miami-Dade police seized a record-setting $24 million in cash during a raid on the home of a brother-sister drug trafficking team.
Arrested were Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez, 44, and his sister, Salma Hernandez, who worked at the Blossom Experience, an indoor gardening store owned by her brother.
Police say Hernandez-Gonzalez trafficked marijuana out of his business located on the 7200 block of Northwest 54th Street. Hernandez-Gonzalez allegedly had ties to drug dealers trafficking marijuana in Tennessee, according to the Miami Herald.
The Herald reports the rolls of mostly $100 bills were found neatly packed inside 24 orange Home Depot buckets hidden in a secret compartment in the attic.
The secret 6×7 ft room was on the 2nd floor, down a hallway near the bedrooms of Hernandez-Gonzalez’s 2 children. The money room could only be accessed through the attic.
Detectives also found a Tec-9 pistol and heat-sealed bags of cash, each labeled $150K, in the walk-in master bedroom closet.
The judge granted Hernandez-Gonzalez a $4 million cash bail.
“For a man with $20 million in his walls, an elevated bond is clearly necessary,” said Miami-Dade prosecutor Adam Korn at Hernandez-Gonzalez’s bond hearing on Wednesday.
Investigators worked through the night counting the $24 million in cash. The haul is believed to be the largest single cash seizure in Miami-Dade police history.
Police say Hernandez-Gonzalez added the secret attic at the time he built his posh 5-bedroom, 2-story home in a gated Miami Lakes neighborhood.
The Miami Herald reports the detective detectives “punched a hole in the hallway wall to remove the buckets.”
The buckets were loaded onto trucks and transported to Miami-Dade precinct where investigators fed the cash into money counting machines.
The police will move to take ownership of the cash through the government’s asset forfeiture laws. The feds will also seize the home.
“The amount of the currency seized represents one of the largest money seizures ever in this jurisdiction,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.