Just as Jeremy Macauley is settling in for what could be the rest of his life in prison for the murders of Tara Rosado and Carlos Ortiz, he could stand trial for smuggling and dealing the up to 15 kilos of cocaine that were at the center of the slayings.
A jury found Macauley, 34, guilty on first-degree murder and armed robbery charges last Wednesday. Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia is scheduled to sentence him on Dec. 19 at 1:30 p.m. But Macauley was charged separately for the cocaine last spring, and has a status update on that case scheduled Jan. 4, said prosecutor Brian Fernandes.
Prosecutors say Macauley found the cocaine offshore some time during the summer of 2015 while working as a mate on the Sea Horse charter fishing boat. The haul was large, anywhere from 12 to 15 kilograms, or even more, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office detectives say. Macauley enlisted the help of several friends to package the drugs down to ounces and sell them.
Ortiz was part of Macauley’s crew, as well as a partner in a legitimate but fledgling tattoo and smoke shop. According to several witnesses’ testimony during Macauley’s murder trial, Ortiz, 30, was using drugs heavily at the time and became increasingly erratic in his behavior.
In the fall, Ortiz started demanding more money from Macauley. In the days leading to his Oct. 15, 2015, murder, he sent Macauley a flurry of texts demanding thousands of dollars and kilos of coke, or else he’d snitch.
Detectives say that’s why Macauley, accompanied by driver Adrian Demblans, went to Rosado’s Cuba Road home in Tavernier that night and shot them both. Ortiz lived with Rosado, 26, and her three children at the time. Detectives theorize she was killed for witnessing her boyfriend’s murder. The children were home that night but not harmed.
Demblans, 36, pleaded guilty last April to accessory and agreed to testify against Macauley in court, which he did last week. Originally facing 30 years, Garcia sentenced Demblans to 10 years in exchange for his cooperation. Demblans also was among Macauley’s crew helping him sell the cocaine.
Fernandes would not comment on whether Macauley’s boss at the time, Sea Horse captain Rick Rodriguez, will testify in the cocaine case. Rodriguez was never arrested or charged but during the trial, prosecutors said he was on the boat when the drugs were found. He also received several of Ortiz’s threatening texts, and phone records show Macauley called him several times after the murders.
“He’s calling the captain repeatedly after midnight after he’s done the deed,” Fernandes said during closing arguments Wednesday.
Macauley’s attorney Ed O’Donnell, Sr., said several times during the trial that Rodriguez had nothing to do with the cocaine. While acknowledging Macauley was selling a large supply of cocaine in the summer and fall of 2015, O’Donnell said he doubted the drugs really were found offshore. Rather, O’Donnell said, Macauley likely was covering for the real source of the contraband.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204