In what is being called the largest cash seizure in the Miami-Dade Police Department’s history, a raid on the home of a suspected drug trafficker in South Florida netted at least $24 million in cash, stored in bundles of $100 bills protected in heat-sealed bags inside dozens of orange 5-gallon buckets from Home Depot.
The discovery came as part of an investigation into 44-year-old Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez and two other men suspected of trafficking marijuana in Tennessee.
Hernandez-Gonzalez, who owns and operates the Blossom Experience – a Miami area store that sells lights, fans and other equipment for indoor gardening and is believed to be a major supplier to the area’s pot grow house – was arrested and charged with money laundering, marijuana trafficking and possession of a firearm while committing a felony after cops found a loaded Tec-9 pistol with an extended clip.
“Acting on information received from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Nashville District Office MDPD, Narcotics detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence of Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez and Salma Hernandez,” a press release from the Miami Dade Police Department stated.
“Once inside the home, detectives discovered concealed within the walls marked vacuum-sealed packages of money stored in buckets, a safe filled with money, a high powered automatic weapon and several packages of steroids.”
To find the buckets of cash, police had to lift up a fiberglass insulation in the home’s attic where they uncovered a windowless room with the buckets.
His sister, Salma Hernandez, who worked at the Blossom Experience, was also arrested and charged.
The Drug Enforcement Administration first began looking into Hernandez-Gonzalez in 2010 when he spoke to a confidential informant about the workings of the marijuana trade. His name emerged once again when DEA agents began monitoring phone calls as part of a marijuana investigation that led to the arrest of 11 people in Tennessee.
Hernandez-Gonzalez was recorded doling out advice to alleged traffickers in Tennessee about how to care for the plants.
During the raid of Blossom Experience on Tuesday, police found marijuana seeds, marijuana labeled “Super Skunk and Chernobyl” and $180,000 cash in a safe. Hernandez-Gonzalez also admitted to police that he helped advise customers on how to grow marijuana.