The Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations on Thursday arrested 20 people whom they say are part of a major heroin ring. One by one, the individuals were booked into the Orange County Jail on Thursday.
Four fist-sized baggies filled with heroin are just a small fraction of the drugs the MBI agents confiscated as part of Operation Chupa Cabra.
Authorities say between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of heroin was smuggled from New York into Orlando on commercial flights several times a month.
At the center of this investigation were Joshua Rodriguez and Raymond Ramos, who stand accused of leading the trafficking organization.
"We believe they were taking commercial flights wiring money up ahead of time and they they'd bring the heroin back, probably body packing is how they got it here," said MBI Director Larry Zwieg.
Other suspected high-ranking members include, David Lopez, William Marrero, Miguel Rodriguez and Efrain Santiago, and more arrests are expected in this case.
Investigators early Thursday evening raided three homes in the Lancaster area of Orlando. They say about nine suspects are members of one family.
"Brothers, brother-in-laws, aunts, uncles," said Zwieg. "For the most part, this was a family business." He added that the group was very well organized. "There was a day shift and an evening shift. They would trade the phones and the cars to make deliveries, and they had a whole business going on."
Right now, the MBI is working with investigators in New York to track down the supplier of drug ring.
Charges including: Racketeering-Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering-RICO, and Trafficking in Heroin.
A violation of Florida's RICO Act is a first degree felony, punishable by 30 years in Florida State Prison. A total of three search warrants were executed in Orange County.