It all started one day in late April when officials from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were reviewing a box that had arrived in Miami by air from Bogota, Colombia.
Inside the box there were 13 packages toner cartridges for printers. When one of the officers dismantled one of the cartridges and drilled it with a drill, brown powder spilled. A laboratory test then determined that the substance was heroin.
The box was addressed to a residence in Miami where federal agents delivered it on May 10. Then they arrested three men, all Hispanic, and accused them of charges related to drug trafficking. The three were identified in court records as Diego Alfredo Hernandez, Oscar Duarte Mazaret and Sonny Cheyenne Camargo.
It is the latest case in a series of parcel deliveries in Miami, or across Miami’s surrounding communities, containing estupefacientes.
In the case of the box that arrived from Colombia, CBP officials suspected something and decided to verify its contents, according to a criminal complaint case available in federal court in Miami.
After discovering heroin inside the cartridges, CBP decided to deliver the box in an apartment along the 10000 block of Southwest 107th Street, in the direction of the package.
There came federal agents posed as employees of a delivery service. They carried the box that was addressed to a person named Juan Carlos Martinez.
Although there was no one with that name in that direction, one of the accused - Mazaret - came to the door and accepted the box saying it was probably for a cousin, according to the court document.
Shortly thereafter, the agents - who maintained surveillance of the apartment - saw two defendants, Hernandez and Duarte, entering the apartment.
After a while, the agents watched as Hernandez went carrying the box to a nearby dumpster where he threw it.
It was at that time that some of the officers approached Hernandez, while others knocked on the apartment door.
According to the criminal complaint, Hernandez and Mazaret answered agents questions after being arrested. Both said they received a similar package containing cocaine about 20 days earlier.
Both also admitted that they agreed to receive a payment of $1,000 per case, plus $500 more by Duarte, according to the criminal complaint.
Duarte was arrested later at his residence where he admitted that he was aware that delivery coming from Bogotá contained heroin, and that the previous delivery was cocaine. The man gave the agents the cocaine he had previously received and was still at his residence where he was arrested, according to court records.
The criminal complaint was prepared by a special agent of the Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a unit of the Police Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
HSI A spokesman said he could not comment on the case because it is still under investigation.
Dustin Tischler, Hernandez's attorney, said his client plans to prove his innocence.
"This is an unfortunate situation that Mr. Hernandez was deceived to allow your address will be used for unknown packets from unknown sources abroad in exchange for a minimum payment," Tischler said.