24 arrested in Central Florida drug, firearm trafficking ring

Owners used restaurant as base of operations, investigators say


ORLANDO, Fla. – Agents say they have arrested on Wednesday 24 people in a drug and firearms trafficking organization bust.

According to the Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, at the center of the investigation were restaurant owners Edmundo Caraballo Olivero, 40, and Raul Pardo Soto, 41, who were using La Terraza Restaurant on East Colonial Drive as the base of the operation.

Operation Island Heat was a 2 1/2-year investigation into the drug trafficking ring that was operating in Orange and Osceola counties. Investigators say cocaine was being imported into the U.S. from Puerto Rico and weapons were being exported from the U.S. to Puerto Rico.

Multiple kilos of cocaine were sold and distributed in East Orange County and Osceola County, along with distributing heroin and marijuana by using the U.S. Postal Service, according to the report.

Six kilos of cocaine and 30 firearms were seized during the investigation.

The 24 defendants will be charged with racketeering and trafficking in cocaine. They could face up to 30 years in prison under the Florida RICO Act.