In a case law enforcement says should finally dismantle the ongoing criminal operation run by a local Stock Island family, agencies working together arrested three family members and seized large quantities of drugs, property, cash and 500 undersized lobster tail.
|Outside the Soca family compound.|
63 year old Juan Soca Sr., 42 year old Juan Soca Jr. and 38 year old Jose Soca were all arrested Wednesday night at their family compound – two trailers located side by side at 6451 6th Street on Stock Island. Search warrants were obtained for the property after Socha Jr. sold 1.5 ounces of cocaine to a law enforcement undercover operative. The drug sale took place Tuesday near Stock Island Lobster Company where Soca has a commercial fishing vessel.
“This is not the first time we have served drug related search warrants on the Soca property,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “But we are going to do everything we can to make sure it is the last. The drug activity by these members of the Soca family is a danger to everyone in our county. The detectives who worked on this case – from multiple agencies – did an outstanding job of stopping these criminals from their ongoing efforts to distribute large amounts of illegal narcotics. This operation will really make a dent in the drug activity in our community.”
|Inside the Soca family compound.|
“This significant drug bust is an example of why it is imperative that our agencies work collaboratively to address crimes in the Lower Keys. The drug trade that is happening in Stock Island affects citizens of key west and vice versa,” said KWPD Chief Donie Lee.
The sale and the search warrants were the culmination of a joint investigation between the Sheriff’s Office, Key West Police, the Monroe High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group (Monroe HIDTA), Key West HIDTA Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Special Weapons and Tactics teams from the Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police entered the two trailers simultaneously Wednesday evening. Soca Sr. and Jose Soca were both on the property at the time the warrants were served. Soca Jr. was picked up a short time later at an apartment building on South Roosevelt Boulevard. He had approximately 300 Oxycodone pills in his possession when he was arrested.
|Drugs and cash seized on the Soca family property.|
The search of the two trailers and the property they were on went on late into the night Wednesday and resumed Thursday morning as detectives continued to find drugs and money hidden in various areas, including buried in the ground, hidden in concealed compartments, false electrical boxes, and in a boat fender nailed to a fence which looked like a decoration.
A total of 8 kilos of cocaine, approximately 2,100 Xanax bars, approximately 580 Oxycodone pills, a crack cocaine cookie weighing 7 grams, and over $75,000 in cash were seized during the search. On property occupied by Jose Soca, detectives found 14 bags of frozen lobster tails containing approximately 500 undersized tails. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was asked to respond to the scene to assist with the find. In the affidavit charging Jose Soca, the FWC Officer said 90 percent of the tails he examined were undersized. Jose Socha possesses a commercial fishing license with crawfish, sponge, stone crab and restricted species endorsements.
All three men face charges of trafficking in cocaine. Jose Soca faces additional charges of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of the undersized lobster tails. Soca Jr. faces additional charges related to the drugs he possessed when he was arrested. Detectives are still working on arrest paperwork and warrants connected with this case and they say more charges are pending.
Two of the three men have been arrested in the past for similar crimes. Both Soca Jr. and Soca Sr. were previously charged with trafficking in cocaine in 2002; Soca Jr. – who has a 28 arrests since 2001 on various charges - was also arrested for trafficking in cocaine in 2003. Other arrest charges against him over the years include extortion, aggravated battery, burglary with battery on the occupant, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
This investigation is continuing as detectives continue to search related properties and work to seize all property and cash related to the drug activity of these Soca family members, including an Ford F250 truck owned by Soca Jr.