Need a Islamorada ending before bed

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Miami's independent source of local news and culture. Tim Elfrink March 28, AM. The three kids heard something in the night but figured mom was just arguing with her boyfriend Carlos. So they went back to sleep. Friday morning, 8-year-old Noah got up for school and awoke his siblings, 4-year-old Martha and 3-year-old Michael.

Mom and Carlos still hadn't stirred, so he walked into their bedroom. What to do? He didn't know. He touched the blood to make sure it was real. For a few hours, he and the others sat near the bed and sobbed. Their pit bull puppy wandered around, tracking tiny red paw prints through the house. Finally, Noah and his sister grabbed a sheet of paper and some crayons. They drew two hetones, both cross-shaped. On the bottom, they scrawled, "Rest in Peace, Mom and Carlos.

Rain poured on Key Largo. The water sluiced down Cuba Road, a sleepy block that dead-ends into Dove Sound, a mangrove-shaded inlet connected by canal to the Atlantic Ocean a few blocks away. Eventually, Noah made a decision: They'd have to find somewhere else to live. He grabbed his siblings, and they started walking up the sodden street. Travis Kvadus, their next-door neighbor, rolled over in bed and checked the live feeds from the cameras he'd mounted in front of his house.

The year-old fisherman rubbed his eyes, confused. Why were the three kids he regularly babysat walking around in the rain? He jogged out and opened the gate. The children rushed into his gravel-strewn front yard. Inside the bedroom, the bodies were splayed across the floor. Tara Rosado, a strikingly pretty year-old with aqua-blue eyes, lay flat on her back, her arms stretched straight out to either side.

Carlos Ortiz — muscular, with a buzzcut, and four years older — slumped with his torso hunched awkwardly over his legs. Both had been shot through the head. Dark, nearly black blood soaked the floor near a pile of plush kids' toys. Kvadus, a certified boat captain, had some first-aid training. So he reached to check for a pulse. But then he looked again at those gunshot wounds. His neighbors were plainly dead. The Florida Keys are many things: a sun-bleached playground for the ultrarich, a blue-collar home to thousands of fishermen and hospitality workers, a rural chain of coral rock emerging just above the rising seas.

There are ugly bar fights and plenty of drugs. But there's hardly any gun violence. A young couple brutally executed a few feet from their young children? Rosado and Ortiz's mysterious killing on October 15,sent locals from Key Largo to Islamorada into a panic and left sheriff's deputies scrambling. Detectives would follow a trail of violence and blackmail for months before divining Need a Islamorada ending before bed source: Jeremy Macauley, a fisherman with a troubled past who'd found Need a Islamorada ending before bed bale of pure cocaine floating in the turquoise sea.

Months later, a prosecutor's suicide and a surprise jailhouse interview would further muddy the tale. The untold story of Key Largo's most brutal homicide in 25 years shines a light on a drugged-out Upper Keys underbelly worthy of a Bloodlines subplot and reveals a surprising truth: Every year, dozens of Florida fishermen find square groupers — packages of marijuana or cocaine, sometimes worth millions of dollars — drifting in the ocean. Then they have to choose: Call the Coast Guard? Or chase the promise of riches far beyond what a fishing boat can provide, risking prison time — or, in some cases, unimaginable bloodshed.

T homas Breeding was reeling in grouper about 50 miles south of Panama City when he spotted a dark, microwave-size cube glinting in the foamy Gulf waves. The year-old with a thick goatee had been trying to eke out a clean living as a fisherman after weapons and drug convictions.

But he could feel his heart pounding as he pulled the package onto his boat. He sliced through the soggy plastic lining and glimpsed the white powder inside: more than 40 pounds of bone-dry, pure cocaine.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

On the street, he quickly calculated, it would sell for at least a half-million bucks. For the tens of thousands who fish the sun-baked waters around Florida, that's more than an academic question. Because a checkerboard of agencies, from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Coast Guard to local cops, deals with drugs discovered at sea, there are no real stats on just how much cocaine and weed is found floating in the ocean after being jettisoned by smugglers fleeing the authorities or caught in bad weather.

Far more was surely found and resold on the black market without being reported. That's a regular occurrence, says Travis Kvadus, who has been fishing off Key Largo for more than 15 years. But every year, guys do keep a haul and resell it. Drugs have been washing ashore or riding currents off Florida ever since the Caribbean and Latin America became a key transshipment point for marijuana and then cocaine between the '50s and '70s. By the early '80s, so much discarded weed was washing ashore that beachfront towns were struggling to get rid of it.

In one busy weekend indozens of pound bales came in with the tide in Surfside, Bal Harbour, and Haulover Beach Park. It overfilled evidence rooms to the point that Surfside's police chief had to lock piles of it inside his Need a Islamorada ending before bed office. And inone of the Herald 's own editors found a bundle of pot while sailing back from the Keys. As the Colombian cartels crumbled in the early '90s, drug shipments slowed across the Florida Straits.

But 20 years later, it's clear that millions of dollars of coke and weed are still regularly ditched in the ocean and then discovered by Floridians. Some people quickly turn in the catch, like a Destin-based fishing crew that reeled in 25 kilos of cocaine in When 21 kilos washed up on a beach a few miles down the Panhandle two years later, beachgoers likewise alerted the cops. In Augustan off-duty Charlotte County sheriff's deputy cut out the middleman; he was fishing 25 miles off the coast near Sarasota when he hooked 25 bricks of yeyo, each weighing two kilos.

But other people make the opposite choice. Nobody ever hears from the ones who get away with it. And there are plenty. Just ask Kvadus. Ask around in any Keys dive bar, though, and you'll hear about plenty who didn't handle it right. Take, for instance, year-old Taylor Oldfield and his friend year-old Norman Fuhrman, who found 24 kilos of coke while fishing the Keys in August The buddies tried to sell the haul in Orlando but ran into a common problem: They were fishermen, not drug dealers.

In JanuaryPanama City ex-con Thomas Breeding made the same choice after hauling in 45 pounds of Colombian gold. It wasn't a snap decision. One day, he got back to the docks, quit his job on the spot, and set out to sell the coke.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

For six months, he made hundreds of thousands of dollars until the feds were tipped off. He was arrested in June, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to six years in prison. In the long history of Florida and drugs, though, it's unlikely that any floating package of cocaine has led to quite as much devastation as the 15 kilos that a perpetually sunburned felon named Jeremy Macauley hooked off the coast of Key Largo almost two years ago.

A few hours before he was shot through the head and left to dieCarlos Ortiz paced his house, composing a text on his girlfriend Tara's smartphone. He was desperate. For months, he'd been dipping into the cocaine he was supposed to be selling.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

If he was going to fulfill his dream of opening a tattoo shop, he needed more money and more blow. First, he made a copy of a video shot by his drug source: Jeremy Macauley, a hulking fisherman who'd drifted to the Upper Keys after a rough childhood. Filmed two months earlier, it showed Macauley posing in front of the haul of his life: 33 pounds of pure coke, fished straight from the waters off Key Largo. Ortiz texted the video to Macauley with a simple threat: He'd give the clip to the cops if he didn't get more money and drugs, fast. Within hours of hitting send on that October 15, text, Ortiz and Tara Rosado would be dead.

Their murders marked a horrific end to a self-destructive romance and shattered their social circle of misfits, many of whom were trying to make a second or third go of life in the Keys. Rosado certainly needed redemption. Born and raised on Staten Island, she was just 18 when she had her first son. She married a man named Juan Rosado inand by the time she was 23, she had two more kids with him.

The names of her children have been changed in this story to protect their identities. The marriage was rocky, and Rosado struggled with substance abuse, though her father says she was never an addict. They hoped she'd find a fresh start on a tranquil street populated with fishermen and retirees. Rosado found work as a lifeguard and at Domino's Pizza, and volunteered at her kids' elementary school.

But her new tropical home didn't solve her problems: Her husband was investigated by the Department of Children and Families for threatening their kids, and she filed for divorce in October For all of her own struggles, her friends say, Rosado's kids were the center of her life. Some people aren't like that. They tell their kids to deal with their problems themselves or just tell them to stop crying. But she was a soother. Kvadus and Rosado were fast friends. She was charismatic and easygoing; even after long hours delivering pizzas for minimum wage and shepherding her kids, she loved talking to friends in her kitchen.

Within six months of divorcing her husband, Rosado began dating Carlos Ortiz. Right away, Kvadus was worried. He'd known Ortiz for years. Rosado's new boyfriend was a handsome, outgoing barber and a wannabe tattoo artist with a real talent for sketching. But he was also a hopeless addict. He'd been arrested for everything from marijuana trafficking to armed robbery, and Kvadus knew that when he wasn't in custody, he was usually strung out on heroin or morphine and sleeping on his friends' couches.

It wasn't good. But she didn't want to listen. She thought she could change him. Need a Islamorada ending before bed hope Rosado had of removing drugs from their lives dissolved in June when that mammoth square grouper showed up in Key Largo.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

It all began with another of Kvadus' friends: Jeremy Macauley. Born inMacauley had grown up in St. Petersburg with a single mother. Macauley racked up a long juvenile record. At the age of 16, he was convicted as an adult of felony burglary and sentenced to two years in prison. When he got out, he moved with his mom to Key Largo and started over as a fisherman on a boat called the Sea Horse. Macauley married and had two kids, including a boy with autism. Like Rosado, he was known as a devoted parent. Rodriguez declined to talk to New Times and has likewise clammed up when pushed by police about the drugs; he hasn't been charged in the case.

No one disputes that soon afterward, Macauley began slinging cocaine around the Upper Keys. Like any fisherman turning to drug dealing, Macauley needed help from the pros.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

He contacted Ortiz, who had plenty of connections in Key Largo's drug scene.

Need a Islamorada ending before bed

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