First, it started in 2010. The DEA was going after Luis Hernandez-Gonzalez, a North Miami businessman who owned a store called Blossom Experience. Basically an indoor gardening equipment store.
Eventually the DEA got a search warrant as a result of the investigation. They expected to find something, they just didn’t know how far the businessman’s involvement in the trade actually reached.
On June of 2016, the DEA finally made their way on the grounds. They found $180,000 in cash and two strains of marijuana marked “Chernobyl” and “Super Skunk.” These were hiding in a safe, and indeed it was a good amount. But it turned out, that was just the beginning.
He was arrested, and admitted to teaching customers how to grow weed properly. Investigators then went to his Miami Lakes home, which was in a gated complex and very luxurious.
He’d been living there for 10 years, first having bought just the land, then having the house built from the ground up, which allowed for a few custom editions.
They soon discovered a secret room. You got to it through the attic. This was one of the custom editions built into the house. It was hidden behind a trapdoor, while a sheet of fiberglass insulation kept it hidden.
They gained access, and then were blown away at what was inside. Steroids, a loaded gun and 24 heat-sealed containers. Inside each container were hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It would be a total of $24 million in cash. Officers were amazed. They transferred the money to the Miami-Dade Police Department for counting.
Hernandez-Gonzalez and his sister Salma Hernandez were arrested. The sister also worked at Blossom Experience. Money laundering, drug trafficking and possession of cannabis are the charges they face.
Turns out there was a case of marijuana trafficking in Tennessee, initially thought to be unconnected, but now they realized they were related.
Apparently Hernandez-Gonzalez came on the DEA’s radar from a snitch. They had a talk regarding the intricacies of the marijuana industry.
Another snitch sold Hernandez-Gonzalez marijuana twice. His angle was that he would sell gardening equipment to particular customers for a low price, buying large amounts of marijuana from those customers and then sell it in smaller amounts for profit.
The snitches didn’t provide enough for the DEA to bust Hernandez-Gonzalez, so the investigation actually became dropped.
It wouldn’t be until 2016 when his name came up again, due to the Tennessee case.
Money of at least $140,000, multiple firearms and 300 marijuana plants were seized. Multiple arrests were had in that case, and they all had ties to Miami.
It was a recorded phone call from a DEA wire tap where Hernandez-Gonzalez was advising local ringleader Luis Rego about how to take care of marijuana plants.
Now the Hernandez-Gonzalez’s case is back on. The search warrant was now secured and that’s how it all started.
Both Hernandez-Gonzalez and his sister are held on bail set at 4 million. Quite a bit, but then the prosecutor Adam Korn pointed out that he did have “$20 million in his walls.”
Hernandez-Gonzalez pleaded not guilty in July, but the case is still going on and they are calling it the largest of it’s kind in American history. Perhaps one of the last as well, seeing that marijuana has become legal in some states and the plant has gained massive acceptance in recent years for all of it’s medicinal qualities and accepted recreational use, with many pointing out how it’s less dangerous than alcohol. It’s crazy to think that all this amount of time and massive resources went into busting a guy for a plant that you will likely be able to buy legally everywhere in only a few years, in which case he would’ve been out of business anyway.