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Crime and Court Cases
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The bad old days on North Biscayne Boulevard

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  • In 1989, trying to break a chain of drug-dealing and prostitution encircling Biscayne Boulevard's aging motels, officials moved in, armed with lists of code violations. The motels clustered between Northeast 34th and 87th street on Miami's main thoroughfare, Biscayne Boulevard, had become sore spots for Northeast Miami residents. Built in the 1940s and '50s when Florida catered to a booming tourist trade, they began to deteriorate after construction of Interstate 95 in the 1960s drew potential customers off Biscayne Boulevard. Then the prostitutes and drug dealers began renting rooms in some of them to ply their trade. Between Jan. 1 and April 15, 1989, police said they made 96 prostitution arrests at or near the motels.
  • 2/4/2016
  • Album ID: 2018232

Patricia James, convicted of plotting husband's murder

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  • Patricia James was convicted in 1988 of talking a lonely ambulance dispatcher into killing her husband. Timothy Ott was conned into falling in love with her, sight unseen. James, who suffers from a facial deformity and blindness in one eye from a childhood surgery, sent him photos of models instead of herself. He proposed marriage and killed her husband, Bernard James, a park ranger.
  • 10/2/2015
  • Album ID: 1980532

Abe's law: Prosecutor Abraham Laeser retires, 2009

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  • Abraham Laeser, a 36-year prosecutor with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office, retired in 2009. At the time, Laeser was credited with sending more men to Death Row than any other prosecutor in the state. He also supervised or handled every homicide case for a decade, beginning in the 1980s, a tumultuous time in Miami's history that included major street riots in Overtown and Liberty City, the infamous cocaine-cowboy drug battles and the Mariel boatlift. Veterans of Miami's Justice Building say Miami lost its best prosecutor.
  • 8/23/2015
  • Album ID: 1967147

1982 cocaine haul at Miami International set record

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  • Customs agents checking a stack of ordinary-looking cardboard cartons on a Miami International Airport cargo dock made the then biggest single U.S. seizure of cocaine ever March 9, 1982, finding 3,748 pounds of coke packaged in 21 boxes.
  • 3/12/2015
  • Album ID: 1913609

A guilty plea for Star Island star Claudio Osorio

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  • Once a dashing Miami businessman who traveled around the globe, Claudio Osorio pleaded guilty in 2013 to stealing millions of dollars invested in his failed start-up to manufacture high-tech construction materials for low-cost housing in developing countries. Osorio and his wife once hosted fundraisers in their Star Island waterfront home for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
  • 10/2/2014
  • Album ID: 1852660

Pony Malta bottles used in fatal 1990 attempt to smuggle cocaine

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  • A former soft-drink importer pleaded guilty in 1994 to smuggling cocaine in bottles of Pony Malta, leading to the 1990 death of a West Dade man who unwittingly drank the drug-tainted malt beverage. Hugo Rios Rodriguez, 40, was arrested in Guatemala in 1991. Maximo Rene Menendez, the 25-year-old father of a little girl, lapsed into a coma and died after gulping half a bottle of Pony Malta de Bavaria. His death prompted a scare in Hispanic communities nationwide, and a Food and Drug Administration recall of the popular Colombian drink.
  • 9/11/2014
  • Album ID: 1844016

Suspect guilty in death of UF freshman

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  • Pedro Bravo was found guilty of first degree murder Aug. 15, 2014, and sentenced to life in prison without parole in the killing of University of Florida freshman Christian Aguilar after a trial that centered on jealousy, rage, suicide and murder.
  • 9/9/2014
  • Album ID: 1842906

Meter maids took abuse, but didn't always frown

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  • Traffic violations officer Tania Ledesma became legendary as a meter maid for South Miami police. In a 1985 profile, Herald writer Francine Barron wrote: "Walking for eight hours in Florida heat and thunderstorms, rarely taking a break, shouldering the abuse from outraged citizens who arrive at their cars an instant too late, Ledesma is intimately acquainted with the perils of the parking violations officer. She loves her job." Other meter maids also found reasons to smile sometimes.
  • 4/22/2014
  • Album ID: 1791408

Illegal gambling left its mark on Florida

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  • Legal and illegal gambling has long been a part of Florida.
  • 1/28/2014
  • Album ID: 1759978

Murder of Sydney and Lillian Gans, 1974

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  • A factory worker hidden in a shallow hole beneath of a clump of wild holly trees was captured and charged in the kidnap slaying of his wealthy employer and the employer's wife. Millionaire Sydney Gans had chosen to pay his kidnaper $50,000 in ransom in an attempt to save the life of his wife, Lillian. The couple died together, executed by their kidnaper who would live another 40 years on death row, and take another life, of a prison guard, before justice came for him in lethal injection.
  • 1/8/2014
  • Album ID: 1751958
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