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This Week in Florida - Mitt Romney Hangs with a Cocaine Smuggler

Mitt Romney campaigned at a Miami restaurant owned by a convicted cocaine smuggler. A man attacked his girlfriend with a hammer because she tried to convince him to vote. Jackmeoff Mudd, was arrested by Broward Sheriff’s officers for assault...
Κείμενο Billy Corben

This week’s roundup is an embarrassment of riches (seriously, I’m really embarrassed for my home state), so we’re gonna cut right to the disgrace:

Welcome to This Week in Florida.

- Federal drug charges were dropped this week against a Miami doctor because of too much evidence. Really. Dr. Armando Angulo was indicted in a multimillion-dollar prescription drug scheme -- that led to the conviction of 26 defendants -- and he fled to his native Panama. The U.S. attorney told the judge that the DEA can no longer sustain the hardship of storing less than 2 terabytes of documents because that amounts to 5% of the DEA's total worldwide electronic storage. So, anybody wanna donate a hard drive to help out the DEA?


- Mitt Romney campaigned at a Miami restaurant owned by a convicted cocaine smuggler. Reinaldo Bermudez, the owner of Palacio de Los Cocaína, uh, I mean Palacio de Los Jugos, served three years in federal prison for attempting to smuggle over a ton of blow. When asked about the propriety of such a visit, considering his background, Bermudez countered with this fair observation: "Here in Miami there are a lot of people with money who have had problems with the law.”

- Florida is fed up with people who have money getting government handouts. It stops now. If you make $11,000 a year, you cannot qualify for Medicaid. That’s all. The gravy train ends here.

- A Plantation man was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his part in a $200 million Medicare scheme. That’ll discourage him. Luckily the crime didn’t involve marijuana, then he might’ve gotten some real time.

- You know what they say: When you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. A Lake Worth man attacked his girlfriend with a hammer on Election Day because she tried to convince him to go with her to the poll to vote.

- Seven employees of the Miami-Dade County Transit Division got busted in a health insurance scam where they received money for phony physical therapy sessions.

- “Florida has the world's worst problem with invasive reptiles and amphibians,” scientists said as they examined the carcass of the largest python ever found in the Everglades: 17.5-feet long, 12-inches wide, 164.5 pounds. And it was pregnant. With 87 eggs.


- A man, legally named Jackmeoff Mudd, was arrested by Broward Sheriff’s officers for assault, disorderly conduct, resisting an officer, possession of alcohol on the beach, violation of probation and carrying an open beverage in public. No comment from his sister, Fingamahtwat. (Thanks to Peter Leonard for that joke).

- A Hialeah man spotted a guy driving his stolen truck, confronted the carjacker at gunpoint and, after a struggle, shot him in the leg. Both were arrested because apparently you’re not allowed to shoot somebody unless you feel your life is in danger. Or for any reason at all if you’re a cop.

- Another South American scheme has been imported to South Florida (that statement sounds redundant): Fake kidnapping scams are on the rise and even cops have received the calls demanding cash in return for the safe return of loved ones (who are actually completely safe and blissfully ignorant).

- In Florida, the only group more powerful than the NRA is the AARP. For years I’ve wondered what the hell elderly people gotta do to lose their drivers licenses. This week, I got my answer. Kind of. A 76-year-old woman who crashed her car into a Palm Coast grocery store, injuring 10 people, had her license suspended -- for three months. That’s 9 days for each person she hit. With her car. Inside a supermarket.

- An 18-year-old man accused of groping a woman’s rear in a North Lauderdale Wal-Mart told cops, "Her booty looked so good, I just couldn't resist touching it.”


- Last week, I covered the litany of new Rick Scott-supported Florida laws whose legality has been challenged in the courts -- several of which have already been declared unconstitutional. Here’s another to add to the list: a federal court just struck down an early voting restriction because it appeared to have been designed by Republican lawmakers to disenfranchise minorities.

- South Florida fugitives are being aided and abetted by taxpayers. Criminal suspects who have jumped bond are taking advantage of government benefits, using food stamps, Medicare, etc. This scandal has led to a circle (jerk) of bureaucratic finger-pointing.

- A 28-year-old tourist died off Pompano Beach after her harness broke while parasailing and she plunged 150 feet to the water below. The outcry to regulate the industry has already begun.

- Two French tourists, a father and his 17-year-old son, have filed a lawsuit accusing Miami Beach and Hialeah cops of false arrest, battery and civil rights violations. They were allegedly beaten by plainclothes cops in an apparent case of mistaken identity. After they were taken into custody, the officers sent the man’s 11-year-old son off alone, with no money, in a foreign city, where he spoke no English. Or Spanish.

- A married Delray Beach cop is charged with perjury and official misconduct for trying to cover up romantic text messages he sent to a woman he’d arrested (not his wife). Last week, another Delray Beach officer was suspended for having sex on duty with a drunk woman who was facing arrest.


- An innocent 26-year-old Leesburg man was shot and killed in his own home by police who knocked on the wrong door while searching for a suspect. Then other cops joked about the murder.

- A Broward judge dashed off the bench to wash his hands after announcing that evidence submitted to him during a hearing was a “bag of venereal diseases.” I don’t know what that means, but that’s what happened.

- Only in Miami: A man who ran this week for a circuit court judge position is the owner of a custom rim shop. Now I don’t know how many legitimate rim shops there are, but this one has been slammed with lawsuits over unpaid bills and screwed customers. And, just so no one can accuse me of never including any good news in this column: he lost the election. He’ll still be spending a lot of time in a courtroom, just on the other side of the bench.

 - A male Oviedo high school basketball coach was fired for sending nude pictures of himself to a male student. Two months earlier, the coach’s younger brother, also a coach at the same school, was fired for doing exactly the same thing. But to a female student.

- A new survey revealed that 90% of South Florida restaurant employees have no sick days. 74% said they’ve gone to work sick, over 25% of those admitted to coughing or sneezing while handling food and more than 10% reported infecting co-workers.

- The good news: A Palm Springs man who fatally shot an intruder will not be charged for defending his home. The bad news: He will be prosecuted for the two pounds of pot and $20,000 cash in the house.


- Tampa is one of the hardest hit cities in America for foreclosures and now police are concerned that protestors coming to town for this year’s Republican National Convention will use the vacant properties as their accommodations. I can think of no place more appropriate for them to camp out.

- Several years ago, grocery stores in West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce were banned from the federal food stamp program for fraud. Problem is, they continued to accept food stamps until they were caught in an undercover news investigation earlier this year. Now the USDA has “permanently removed” them from the program. That should do it.

- A Wisconsin man retired to Fort Myers to play golf and wound up murdered by a killer who had just been released from police custody where he was questioned as the sole suspect in another murder. Then cops tried to make it right by shooting and killing the murderer.

- Here’s the analogue version of the UPC swapping scheme: A Florida mother and son managed to steal $2 million in toys by stuffing smaller expensive items into the boxes of larger cheaper products. Then they got high tech by selling the stuff on the internet.

- Fort Lauderdale police recently debuted a “Nuisance Abatement” section to their website so citizens can see where complaints have been lodged. It’s become a handy guide to find the city’s best spots to score hookers and drugs.

- A woman is accused of scamming Miami Beach hotels with an elaborate credit card scheme. But I’m wondering who’s scamming who: One hotel charged her fraudulent account over $10,000 for 10 nights.


- A concealed weapons permit permits you to carry a concealed weapon, not brazenly brandish it at a Niceville Chick-Fil-A.

- If anyone is in the market for a beach house: A-Rod listed his Miami Beach mansion for $38 Million.

- Florida has claimed another high-profile casualty:

This week, Chad Johnson (formerly Ochocinco) was arrested for domestic abuse in Davie, cut from the Miami Dolphins, saw his wife file for divorce, his VH-1 reality show cancelled and lost a coconut water endorsement deal.

Billy Corben is the co-producer and director of Cocaine Cowboys, The U, and the upcoming Broke for ESPN 30 for 30 Vol. II, among other films. He also runs The Billy Pulpit.