The Santiesteban family gives new meaning to the phrase “it’s a family affair.” Unfortunately their lucrative marijuana growing operation, including kidnapping and murder is against the law.
Watched for years by the Feds, starting in 2004, the Santiesteban clan and their co-horts were busy with at least 17 grow houses (excluding one in St. Cloud, Fl & Monticello, N.Y.) scattered across Miami-Dade setting up surveillance cameras, planting seeds under hydroponic lights, hiring caretakers to guard their crops, harvesting the potent plants and hauling them to New York to sell.
Fidel Ruz Moreno made the unfortunate mistake of stealing 30 plants from the group. He was identified as being the robber and some members of the group kidnapped, shot and subsequently beat him to the last breath was out of his body, then dumped his lifeless body along the roadway and took his van to the Everglades where they torched it.
Law enforcement agents were able to finally shut down the massive operation down on Tuesday, which consisted of 16 individuals, charging them with conspiracy to distribute drugs, kidnapping and murder, ending one of the largest marijuana enterprises in Miami-Dade history.
They operated under the radar for a long time,” William Athas, assistant U.S. attorney told U.S. Magistrate Edwin Torres with nearly two dozen relatives and friends of the defendants sitting in the back of the courtroom. When two of the grow houses were raided by Miami-Dade police – with a dozen people nabbed – the operators simply shut down one and set up another, records state.
A list of the charges are below:
- Gilberto Santiesteban, Sr., Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., Miami – Kidnapping, Murder
- Alexander Santiesteban, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Darvis Santiesteban, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Derrick Santiesteban, Miami – Kidnapping , Murder
- Yadira Santiesteban, Miami- Kidnapping, Murder
- Juan Felipe Castaneda, Miami – Kidnapping, Murder
- Norge Manduley, Miami – Kidnapping, Murder
- Dayana Castellanos, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- German Silvestro, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- David Silva, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Raul Fabian Ramirez, Jr., Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Francisco Javier Diaz, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Alejandro Pimentel, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- Estrella Mijares, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
- John Villalonga, Miami – Conspiracy to distribute drugs
Photos Credit – miamiherald.com
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