When Time magazine put together its list of 10 Must Dos in Miami, number five was a visit to Versailles, the iconic Cuban restaurant in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood. “The sit-down restaurant is excellent, but the take-out window is where you'll find the local color—from exquisite ladies in Chanel to construction workers in paint-splattered overalls—all lining up for a caffeine jolt,” its authors wrote.
That same restaurant and takeout window are also where you might have seen two men with a large dog questioning customers, allegedly pretending to be FBI agents, and threatening to arrest everyone on the premises last week.
According to the Miami Herald, Ismael Diaz and Alberto Nunez Horta went to Cafe Versailles on Wednesday night, insisting to a manager that they should be allowed to bring their Belgian Malinois into the restaurant with them. When the manager told them that dogs weren’t allowed, the pair claimed to be FBI agents and brandished what turned out to be a fake set of “credentials." The dog was allowed to stay.
But Diaz, Nunez Horta, and the dog came back to Versailles on Thursday and Friday night too, and that’s when the manager decided he’d had enough. He stopped the men as they walked from table to table, and asked them who they were and why they were questioning his customers. “You don’t have to know who we are. We are conducting an investigation,” Diaz said, according to the arrest report. “You want to know who I am? Call the FBI. The CIA.” Three witnesses said that’s when Diaz and Nunez Horta started threatening to have everyone in the restaurant arrested.
A manager called 911 and, when the police arrived, Diaz claimed to be a five-star general, a CIA agent, and that the officers “would have to contact national security and Homeland Security” to find out who he was and what his assignments were. (Here’s where we point out that there have only been four five-star generals in the U.S. Army since that rank was established in 1944. Here’s also where we point out that the last five-star general, Omar Bradley, died in 1981).
When it seemed like the police detectives weren’t buying those stories, the men allegedly tried choking one of them and punching another. They were swiftly arrested, and are now facing charges of impersonating a federal officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and disorderly conduct.
“They were bothering patrons going table to table showing them something on their computers and phones. We don’t know what exactly, but detectives are looking at that and seeing if the men had been there before,” Miami Police Department spokesperson Kenia Fallat told CBS4 Miami. “There was an altercation between three detectives and the two men and additional officers were called to the scene and the two men were taken into custody.”
Diaz has several previous convictions for assault and battery, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, and disorderly intoxication. Nunez-Horta has served prison time for armed robbery, racketeering, and for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. When CBS4 contacted the men, they both continued to insist that they worked for the federal government, and both of them declined to comment on camera.
The dog has not been charged with a crime, but he’s still probably not welcome at Cafe Versailles.