Paula McMahon covers this big Flakka importation case:
Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to importing more than 24 pounds of the main ingredient in the street drug flakka from China to Broward County.
Federal authorities arrested Michael J. Hernandez, 25, of Orlando, and Jonell Vega-Mercado, 21, of Clermont, in June when they tried to pick up packages from a shipping and mailbox store in Hollywood.
Michael J. Hernandez and Jonell Vega-Mercado
Homeland Security Investigations agents said the packages contained the key ingredient for making the synthetic stimulant, which often causes hallucinations and psychosis.
The packages were addressed to fake names and were intercepted while being shipped to commercial mailboxes in Weston and Hollywood, authorities said.
The men ordered large amounts of the drug to be shipped from labs in China and the conspiracy went on from January to early June, according to the plea agreement. The men paid cash for mailbox services and used fake identities when they picked up the shipments.
Both men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to import the drug ingredient at a hearing in federal court in West Palm Beach. The charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.
And what's Friday news without Hurricanes, Flakka, and.... Butt Implants:
Peruvian woman who admitted she illegally smuggled a product into South Florida to perform an illegal "buttocks enhancement" procedure was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison on Thursday, court records show.
Teresa Nunez Orrego, 46, was arrested in May during an appointment with an undercover federal agent who posed as a client who wanted a "buttocks enhancement." The arrest was made at the Hallandale Beach apartment of Nunez's South Florida contact who scheduled her appointments.
Teresa Nunez Orrego, 46, was sentencd to 10 months in federal prison after admitting she traveled from Peru to Broward County with silicone, large hypodermic needles and syringes to perform an illegal cosmetic procedure, or "buttocks enhancement." (Handout, Broward Sheriff's Office)
Nunez had promised she would boost the woman's rear end with injections of a top-quality Swiss product for the bargain price of $1,000, according to court records.
Federal authorities said Nunez hid vials of silicone, with fake labels that claimed it was more expensive hyaluronic acid, in her luggage on a flight from Lima, Peru to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Also concealed in her luggage were large hypodermic needles, syringes and vials of lidocaine to help treat reduce the pain involved in the procedure, according to agents from the Food and Drug Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.